West Fork Complex Fire Still Growing, Burns More Than 81,000 Acres With Zero Percent Contained

The massive West Fork Complex wildfire, consisting of three blazes that have combined into one -- West Fork, Windy Pass and Papoose -- continued to grow on Wednesday to 81,331 acres and remains zero percent contained.

"Fire activity increased on the northwest flank of the fire [Papoose Fire] last night about shift change," fire officials said Wednesday. "The fire has burned down into Crooked Creek, and firefighters from both shifts worked diligently to protect structures as the fire pushed into the area."

And although it did grow again, diminished winds did cause a slow-down in its otherwise rapid growth -- over the weekend, the fire had more than doubled, but from Tuesday to Wednesday the blaze had grown 3 square miles larger. The decreased wind speeds have also lessened the immediate threat to nearby Wolf Creek Ski Area.

More than 1,300 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 last Friday.

No structures are believed to have been lost to the erratic wildfire which began burning on June 5 in the San Juan National Forest and which continues to also burn in the Rio Grande National Forest.

The West Fork, Windy Pass and Papoose fires were combined into a complex on Sunday, June 16.

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