West Fork Fire Complex in southern Colorado now over 110,000 acres, 20 percent contained

PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo. - The West Fork Fire Complex, which consists of three fires raging in Southern Colorado, is now estimated at 110,028 acres and 20 percent containment.

The complex involves the West Fork, Windy Pass, and Papoose fires. They are burning on the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests and private lands in southern Colorado.

The terrain in the area is described as steep and rugged, with large amounts of beetle-killed spruce. Because of those conditions, firefighters have had a difficult time mounting direct attacks on the fire perimeters.

The firefighters and resources battling this fire are divided into two zones along the Continental Divide. The west zone is being managed by the California Central Coast Type II Incident Management Team while the east zone is managed by the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team.

In the east zone, firefighters report they continued working to protect buildings around Red Mountain Lodge and to secure the fire's edge from Oxbow Ranch to Trout Creek. They also continued working to hold and defend Crooked Creek to FS 520 where possible.

Evacuations remain in place on the northern and eastern edges of Papoose and in the Humphrey's area west of West Fork.

Plans for that half of the fire include the continued building of handlines or dozerlines and the use of burnouts to protect buildings north of and southeast of the Papoose Fire.

In the west zone, firefighters report that properties adjacent to Highway 160 are still a concern. In the West Fork-Borns Lake area and Wolf Creek Ski area, they continue to work to protect structures.

On that side, they plan to use aircraft to delay the spread of the fire and keep resources focused on protecting properties that are at risk.

The potential for continued growth of this fire complex is considered "extreme."

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