West Fork fire more than triples in size; Windy Pass fire makes significant run

Southwest Colorado Fire Update -- June 16, 2013, 8:00 AM

The West Fork and Windy Pass fires are now being managed as a complex called the West Fork Complex. A National Incident Management Team Organization (NIMO) team has been ordered with a Type 2 configuration. The structure of the NIMO teams allows them a great deal of flexibility in terms of ramping firefighting resources up or down as needed. NIMO members will begin arriving later today, with a transition occurring on Tuesday. NIMO teams are also structured to allow for management of longer-term incidents and free up the Type 3 Team to be available for new starts in southwest Colorado.

An infrared flight last night confirmed that there was significant increase in acreage on both the West Fork and Windy Pass fires. There is an Incident Commander and approximately 65 people on each fire.

West Fork Fire:  The fire more than tripled in size growing from 471 acres Saturday morning to over 1700 acres by midnight.  The growth was primarily northward in the Weminuche Wilderness.  The fire moved farther north and expanded both the east and west. It has crossed over the West Fork River near Beaver Creek. Firefighters made good progress with their structure protection efforts near Borns Lake and they will continue working on structure protection today. Helicopters with water dropping capabilities will be working today to attack any spot fires along the southern flank.

Windy Pass Fire:  The fire also made a significant run yesterday and grew to 108 acres in mostly a northerly direction.  The Windy Pass fire is southwest of Wolf Creek Pass and east of the Treasure Mountain Trail.

Weather on Sunday will be similar to what was experienced on Saturday so we are anticipating another day of relatively active fire.

Smoke settled into the West Fork area, South Fork and Pagosa Springs overnight.  For those bothered by the smoke, more information on smoke impacts can be found on the state website, http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx

For public and firefighter safety, the West Fork Trail (561) remains closed up to Piedra Pass. Other trail and road closures will be announced as they happen.

Forest Service campgrounds at West Fork and East Fork are both open as are the private campgrounds in the West Fork area.

Maps and photos will be posted on the Archuleta County Emergency information site at:   www.acemergency.org