Wednesday, June 19:  Heavy smoke from the West Fork Complex fires north and east of Pagosa Springs poured smoke into the San Luis Valley today, especially affecting Saguache County and the towns of La Garita, Moffat, Crestone, Villa Grove and Saguache.  The air in late afternoon and evening was thick with smoke.

According to Inciweb.org: The West Fork Complex consists of two wildfires, West Fork and Windy Pass, that are burning on the west side of Wolf Creek Pass in southwest Colorado. Both 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.

West Fork: Started by lightning on June 5, this fire is burning on the north side of Highway 160 primarily within the Weminuche Wilderness. It started about 1/2 mile up the West Fork Trail. Helicopters are being used to drop water on the south flank of the fire in an effort to keep the fire from spreading any further south where it would affect private property. Structure protection is in place for cabins at Borns Lake. The fire has moved mostly north up the West Fork drainage and to the NE up the Beaver Creek drainage. June 19 acreage = 3,879.

Windy Pass: Started by lightning on June13. It is south of Wolf Creek Ski Area and east of Treasure Falls. The fire is sitting in a deep bowl of large, standing dead spruce. Firefighters are currently scouting the surrounding area looking for places to build indirect line to contain the fire once it moves out of the bowl. June 19 acreage = 191.

AIR QUALITY ADVISORY

Public health has issued recommendations about smoke drifting into the San Luis Valley from wildfires.  If smoke is thick in your neighborhood, you may want to remain indoors and limit outdoor activity.  This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly.  If smoke is making you ill indoors, consider relocating temporarily.  Smoke is at unhealthy levels when visibility is less than five miles. For questions, please call your County Public Health Agency.  For additional information about smoke, visit:  http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx