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West Fork Complex grows to 96,500 acres; U.S. 160 reopens

Image from NASA's Aqua Satellite taken June 22, 2013

Image from NASA's Aqua Satellite taken June 22, 2013

ALAMOSA, Colo. — The West Fork Complex continues to grow in size, but there are no evacuations in place and the Red Cross evacuation shelter at Del Norte High School will close Monday morning.

The fire had burned 96,472 acres by Sunday night. Fire managers said containment was four percent. There is a large about of bug-killed timber fueling the fire.

About 1,500 personnel are working the fire, which is actually three separate wildfires burning near each other about 14 miles northeast of Pagosa Springs.

There are 18 helicopters and two air tankers available and working on the fire when weather and smoke conditions permit.

Rio Grande County Sheriff Brian Norton did have good news for some residents who were evacuated because of the fire. Evacuation orders have been lifted for people in South Fork but residents must be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, Norton said.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from South Fork last week as the fire moved to the small mountain town.

U.S. Highway 160 over Wolf Creek Pass and Colo. Hwy. 149 both reopened to traffic this weekend.

The West Fork Complex includes the Papoose Fire, the West Fork Fire and the Windy Pass Fire. The Complex is burning between Creede, South Fork and Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Smoke from the three fires is causing health concerns for the communities to Del Norte and Creede.