West Fork Complex Fires: Containment growing at Papoose Fire, West Fork Fire, Windy Pass Fire

SOUTH FORK, Colo. - Containment is growing slowly at the West Fork Complex of fires in Southern Colorado.

The fire is now seven percent contained. Officials say the three fires -- the West Fork Fire, Papoose Fire and Windy Pass Fire -- have burned 94,476 acres.

"Much of the area covered by the fires is steep, rugged terrain with large amounts of beetle-killed spruce, making it difficult and unsafe for firefighters to mount a direct attack in most areas," officials said on the fire information website Iciweb.org. "Point and zone protection is the primary management strategy, while securing the fire edge where possible."

The number of fire personnel on scene has been reduced to 1,464 at the fires burning near Pagosa Springs, Creede and South Fork. There are 20 helicopters helping firefighters.

-- Papoose Fire --

Monday, officials said firefighters were able to take advantage of higher humidity to mop up in areas where there was still heat and burning around structures.

"Today, firefighters will continue mopping up around structures and start confining the northern part of the fire, from the Rio Grande Reservoir around the north and then south, along Highway 149," incident managers wrote in a news release.

Officials said fire intensity is expected to increase in the next few days, because of gusty winds expected from thunderstorms. 

Firefighters said they will continue to conduct burn outs to keep the fire from spreading to structures, to even out the fire line and to achieve confinement.

-- West Fork Fire --

Firefighters on the West Fork Fire continue to protect structures and high-value resources.

"Firefighters will continue achieving confinement of the fire from Humphreys Lake, moving north and then around the Elk Mountain area, moving south along Highway 160," officials said.

Firefighters are also standing by to respond to any new fire starts.

-- Windy Pass Fire --

Structure protection remains in place for the Wolf Creek Ski Area, Borns Lake Cabins, and Bruce Spruce Resort. 

The West Fork Campground is open.

-- The Fire --

The lightning-caused fire was reported June 5.

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