West Complex Fire in Colorado
Inciweb.org reports the following on this set of Colorado fires: "The West Fork Complex consists of three wildfires, West Fork, Windy Pass, and Papoose, that are burning on the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests in southwest Colorado. All fires are burning in steep, rugged terrain with large amounts of beetle-killed spruce which makes it difficult and unsafe for firefighters to mount a direct attack. The fires were combined into a complex on Sunday, June 16."
The fires began on June 5, 2013 by means of a lightning strike. At this point over 75,000 acres have burned and the fire is 0% contained. The difficulty of the terrain and the weather have both contributed to the growth of the fire. The timber, also, has been a contributing factor since there is such a large volume of dead wood in the area. Today (June 24) marks the fifth day in a row that the complex has been under a Red Flag Warning. Wind gusts reaching 50 mph were reported on the ridge tops with gusts to 35 mph at lower elevations. Relative humidity was reported in the teens dropping to single digits. Another Red Flag Warning has been issued for tomorrow.
There have been multiple evacuations and pre-evacuations in effect for the fire area and vicinity. There are multiple road and trail closures.
This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on June 22, 2013. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red. NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner with information from inciweb.org