Wed Jul 3rd, 2013
Southern Ute Drum
The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team continues to battle the West Fork Fire Complex north of Pagosa Springs, Colo., which had grown to more than 83,000 acres by Thursday, June 27.
According to the latest information available at press time, the fire was zero percent contained. More than 1,400 total personnel were working on it in nearly 30 hand crews, 82 engines, 12 helicopters, two air tankers and by a variety of other means.
The complex is composed of three fires: West Fork, which had grown to more than 55,000 acres; Papoose, which exceeded 26,000 acres; and Windy Pass, which at 1,400 acres had threatened Wolf Creek Ski Area — a threat that has since diminished.
Responders say the fire began Wednesday, June 5. The listed cause is lightning.
Several fire information meetings will take place over the next few days. In Del Norte, a daily briefing occurs at the Red Cross Shelter at 9 a.m. There will be a meeting in Pagosa Springs at the Ross Aragon Community Center at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 29.
A Red Flag Warning was issued Thursday, June 27 for dry thunderstorms. Lightning and gusty winds were the primary concern.
Highway 160 from the chain-up area to South Fork remains closed. No additional closures or evacuations have been issued. Along Highway 149, traffic is being escorted between Wagon Wheel Gap and Highway 160. Visit www.cotrip.org/roadconditions.htm for more information.
Emergency closures in place due to the West Fork Fire Complex currently affect about 50 miles of the Colorado Trail on the Rio Grande National Forest and about 150 miles of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail on both the Rio Grande and San Juan national forests. These trail sections are closed to all public entry between San Luis Pass north of Creede, Stony Pass east of Silverton and Elwood Pass northeast of Pagosa Springs, as identified within the closure orders.
For more on road and trail closures affecting the national forests, visit www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices or www.fs.usda.gov/detail/riogrande/notices/?cid=stelprdb5143145.
Responders urged the public to not call 911 unless it’s an actual emergency.
For air quality information, visit www.colorado.gov/airquality/colorado_summary.aspx.
For more information
West Zone Information Center: 970-731-2745, 970-731-2432 or email@example.com
East Zone Information Center: 719-569-4149, 719-657-3279 or westforkfire.EastZone@gmail.com
Hours of operation: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.