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Disaster emergency declared for West Fork Fire Complex in southern Colorado

DENVER — Wednesday, June 26, 2013 — Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia today signed an Executive Order to declare a disaster emergency related to the West Fork Fire Complex in Hinsdale, Mineral and Rio Grande counties.

 

The Executive Order authorizes the transfer of $3 million from the Disaster Emergency Fund to pay for the fire suppression, response and recovery effort related to the fire since its inception. The order stated:

 

“On June 5, 2013, lightning started the West Fork Fire on the San Juan National Forest in Mineral County. By June 14, 2013, the West Fork Fire grew to approximately 30 acres and the Windy Pass Fire also ignited and grew to approximately 3 acres across Highway 160 from the West Fork Fire near Windy Pass. The San Juan National Forest combined the fires to form the West Fork Fire Complex and ordered a National Incident Management Organization Team to manage the fire.

 

“On June 20, 2013, extreme fire weather conditions caused the West Fork Fire Complex to grow to over 29,000 acres and cross over the Continental Divide into the Rio Grande National Forest and Rio Grande County. All available firefighting resources were committed to firefighting and structural protection.

 

“On June 19, 2013, lightning caused the Papoose Fire to ignite on the Rio Grande Forest northwest of the West Fork Fire in Hinsdale County. On June 20, 2013, the United States Forest Service decided to add the Papoose Fire to the West Fork Fire Complex. On June 21, 2013, extreme fire weather conditions caused the Papoose Fire to grow to over 4,000 acres.

 

“On June 21, 2013, the Hinsdale County Sheriff determined that the Papoose Fire had extended from the Rio Grande National Forest and would exceed the ability of the county and other local resources to contain and extinguish it and requested the response of the Division of Fire Prevention and Control. The Hinsdale County Sheriff requested transfer of the Papoose Fire to the State of Colorado under the Emergency Fire Fund provisions.”

 

The order can be found here.

 

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