RED FLAG warning has been issued for today and for tomorrow. Drier air moved into the area last night and warm, dry and windy conditions are predicted through Saturday. Yesterday cloud cover over the fires moderated fire activity, limiting total growth to about 800 acres, for a total of to 4070 acres in the complex. Without the cloud cover today we can expect increased fire activity, intensity and growth.
Due to more cloud cover over the fires the West Fork Complex was less active today. However, warm, dry and windy conditions are predicted for the next few days which can increase fire intensity and growth potential. There are currently 256 people assigned to the fires.
Weather is predicted to be hot, dry and windy today through Saturday. An infrared flight last night shows the total acreage for both fires in the West Fork Complex at 3280 acres. There are currently about 260 people assigned to the complex.
DURANGO - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - In coordination with the BLM Tres Rios Field Office, Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian tribes, Mesa Verde National Park and La Plata, Archuleta and Montezuma counties, fire restrictions will go into effect for portions of the San Juan National Forest on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. Fire managers feel the restrictions are necessary due to continued high temperatures, low humidity, high winds and dry fuels.
Stage 1 restrictions are in effect for lower- to middle-elevation portions of the San Juan National Forest, as follows:
Official map of the closures related to the West Fork Fire Complex. Fire managers feel these closures are necessary to provide for firefighter and public safety in light of the potential for these fires to grow rapidly due to the Red Flag Warnings for the next couple days and amount of beetle-killed timber in the area.
An infrared flight tonight will determine the growth on the fires today and will be given in Tuesday’s update. There are approximately 220 people assigned to the complex. Transition to the NIMO team is expected to occur at end of shift on Tuesday. Total cost for the two fires is estimated at $411,000.
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Lewis Mesa Fire: This fire began early afternoon on Ute Mountain Ute lands in La Plata County, north of County Road 100, near County Road 114. At 6 PM, the fire was estimated at 10 acres and was 45% contained. There were 2 crews, 5 engines, and several aircraft on scene. No structures were threatened.
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Though the West Fork and Windy Pass fires are now being managed as a complex, we will report fire activity information for each fire separately. An infrared flight will occur again tonight to confirm today’s fire growth and give us accurate acreages. There are currently 143 people assigned to the complex; some resources will be shared between incidents.