The West Fork Complex Fire burning near Wolf Creek Pass in the San Juan National Forest now consist of three wildfires, West Fork, Windy Pass, and Papoose, that are burning on the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests in southwest Colorado. All fires are burning in steep, rugged terrain with large amounts of beetle-killed spruce which makes it difficult and unsafe for firefighters to mount a direct attack. The fires were combined into a complex on June 16th. The fires have consumed over 76-thousand acres as of Monday and were continuing to grow. The fires have triggered multiple evacuation orders around South Fork and Del Norte. Several hundred residents have been evacuated from their homes in South Fork and may not be allowed to return home for several days. 895 fire fighters are assigned to the lightning caused West Fork Complex.
There are 95 fire fighters assigned to the East Fork Fire burning along the Little Cimarron Creek and south end of High Mesa, approximately 30 miles Southeast of Montrose, Colorado (13 miles east of Ridgway, and 3 miles southeast of Silver Jack Reservoir). A lightning strike on Saturday, June 15 started the fire.
The fire has grown in size to 403 acres. The fire remains active, burning in spruce-fir vegetation in steep, hazardous and sometimes inaccessible terrain. No structures are threatened but various Forest Service Roads remain closed in the area. (Alpine Trail (FST 225), East Fork Trail (FST 228), Little Cimarron Trail (FST 229), Fall Creek Trail (FST 230,231), Big Park Trail (FST 234), Middle Fork Trail (FST 227) and Wetterhorn Basin Trail (FST 226).
Fire Information Officer Rick Barton says Smoke Jumpers were used at the onset of the fire to spearhead the attack on the inferno.
Stage One fire restrictions will be implemented today (Monday) on the Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests