West Fork Complex of fires: West Fork Fire, Papoose Fire, Windy Pass Fire grow to 106,637 acres

Fires 16 percent contained

PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo. - There are new concerns about the West Fork Complex of fires burning in Southern Colorado. Thursday, officials announced the fires had burned 110,028 acres and that the Papoose Fire is growing.

Fire managers said the Papoose Fire increased in intensity as it burned in an area of beetle-killed spruce trees and old logging slash Wednesday. Smoke and ash was observed in Pagosa Springs, officials said.

Sustained winds of  20 miles per hour, pushed the fire into Copper Creek, west of Red Mountain Ranch. 

However, fire officials said the fire was not a threat to structures.  

Incident managers said firefighters are dealing with another danger -- falling trees, which is preventing them from getting into some areas.

The West Fork Complex is made up of three fires -- the Papoose Fire, the West Fork Fire and the Windy Pass Fire -- burning between Creede, South Fork and Pagosa Springs.

The fires have now burned 110,028 acres and are 20 percent contained.

-- West Fork Fire --

Incident managers said firefighters are removing limbs, branches and other vegetation near homes, propane tanks and other structures.

Firefighters are chipping the material to make sure it does not become a fire hazard.

"In addition, firefighters have built two miles of fire line from Humphreys Lake, moving north towards the Elk Mountain area," incident managers said on their official blog. Fire line construction also continues through the Elk Mountain area.

-- Windy Pass Fire --
 
The fire grew one acre Tuesday.
 
"[There is] creeping on the western flank of the fire where heat remains." managers said. "Firefighters continue to patrol and monitor the fire area."
 
-- Fighting the fires --
 
There are still 1,234 fire personnel and eight helicopters assigned to the West Fork Complex.
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