West Fork Complex Fire In Southern Colo. Now Over 110,000 Acres, 19 Percent Contained

Containment of the West Fork Complex Fire grew to 25 percent over the weekend, however it was reduced to 19 percent on Monday "due to a more accurate assessment of the total fire acreage," fire officials said.

The total amount of structures threatened by the blaze was also reduced to 441 -- 407 residences, 7 commercial and 27 outbuildings.

The West Fork Complex Fire, burning about 14 miles northeast of Pagosa Springs, consists of three wildfires -- the West Fork, Windy Pass and Papoose fires -- that were combined into a single complex on Sunday, June 16, and have been burning since.

The Papoose Fire has burned a total of 49,056 acres, West Fork Fire has burned a total of 59,932 acres and the Windy Pass Fire has burned 1,417 acres -- altogether the West Fork Complex has burned 110,405 acres.

The fire began burning on June 5 and is believed to have been started by lightning.

The blaze is fueled by the large amount of beetle-killed spruce and fir trees in the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests. Much of the area where the fire is burning is steep, rugged terrain making it incredibly difficult and unsafe for firefighters to mount a direct attack.

"We're concentrating on protecting the highest values, and we're meeting that objective," said Bobby Kitchens, fire information officer with the Type 1 Incident Management Team said to The Denver Post last week. "Containment isn't a good measure on this fire."

Firefighters are primarily focused on "point and zone protection" and when possible, securing the fire edge, according to

More than 800 firefighters are battling the southwest Colorado fire which threatens the small town of South Fork, but has not yet reached it. More than 1,000 residents and summer tourists were evacuated from the town more than a week ago.

No structures are believed to have been lost to the erratic wildfire which began burning on June 5 and no fatalities or injuries have been reported.

According to, evacuations remain in place on the northern and eastern edges of Papoose and in the Humphrey's area west of West Fork. Pre-evacuations are still in effect for subdivisions and structures north and east of West Fork as well as northeast of Papoose.

For a larger view of the many fires that have been burning in Colorado this year, Google has put together this "2013 Colorado Wildfire" map:

View Colorado Current Fires in a larger map

More photos of the devastating 2013 wildfires in Colorado:



Colorado Wildfires 2013