West Fork Fire Complex Update -- June 19, 2013, 6:30 PM
When the Red Flag conditions developed this afternoon, both fires in the West Fork Complex became very active. The West Fork fire demonstrated extreme fire behavior and moved deeper into the Weminuche Wilderness. As of 6:30, the fire had not crossed the Continental Divide. This fire generated the majority of smoke that was seen today.
The Windy Pass Fire moved north up Treasure Creek and eastward to the west side of Lane Creek. This advance has the fire burning within ¼ mile of the closest infrastructure at Wolf Creek Ski Area. Firefighters are attempting to hold the fire south of the Continental Divide and the ski area. Additional resources for structure protection are being ordered to supplement what is already in place. No structures have been damaged or lost. Highway 160 is still open, though visibiilty may be limtied at times.
Nighttime wind patterns tend to pull smoke into the valleys; if this occurs, the smoke is likely to be heavier in the San Luis Valley tonight and tomorrow morning.
Heavy smoke was making it difficult for aircraft to accurately assess the exact perimeter of the fires.
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Fire activity has picked up on both the West Fork and Windy Pass Fires this afternoon. A large smoke plume is visible from communities within a 75-mile radius. Prevailing winds from the southwest are pushing the West Fork Fire northward up the West Fork drainage and to the northeast up the Beaver Creek drainage. The fire is not making a push to the south at this time.
A small column is also beginning to build on the Windy Pass Fire; however, it has not moved out of the 'bowl" that it is sitting in.
This activity was anticipated due to the lack of cloud cover, warrmer temperatures, and lower relative humidity.
There is no immediate threat to Highway 160, Wolf Creek Ski Area, South Fork, or Creede.
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