Gentler winds help fight

Gentler winds help fight

Blaze now is nation’s highest wildfire priority
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Firefighters battle the Papoose Fire 15 miles southwest of Creede off Colorado Highway 149 on Tuesday afternoon. Of the three fires in the West Fork Complex, the Papoose Fire worries firefighting officials the most because it has the potential to harm waterways and reservoirs.
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Drivers heading west on U.S. Highway 160 were turned away at South Fork on Tuesday afternoon. Officials were looking at ways to allow limited traffic through Wolf Creek Pass, but no decisions had been made as of Tuesday evening.
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Destruction from the Windy Pass Fire was visible from the Continental Divide looking west Tuesday. Currently, 1,313 firefighters are battling the three blazes of the West Fork Complex.
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The Windy Pass Fire as seen from on top of the Continental Divide looking West Tuesday. SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
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Russel Coley, a paramedic from the Unified Fire Authorithy from Salt Lake City Utah, watches the progression of the Windy Pass Fire from on top of the Continental Divide looking West Tuesday. SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
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Flowers in bloom contrast against the smoke of the southern edge of the West Fork Fire Tuesday as seen from the shore of Borns Lake above the West Fork Campground off of U.S. Highway 160 East of Pagosa Springs. SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
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West Fork Fire in the West Fork Complex. SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
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Burned stands of trees that were in the path of the Windy Pass Fire as seen from on top of the Continental Divide looking West Tuesday. SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
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Firefighter Sam Tacchini watches the progression of the southern edge of the West Fork Fire from the shore of Borns Lake above the West Fork Campground off of U.S. Highway 160 East of Pagosa Springs Tuesday. SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
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Mike Cachero, a Task Force Leader on the Windy Pass Fire watches for spotting from the fire from on top of the Continental Divide Tuesday. SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
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Burned stands of trees that were in the path of the Windy Pass Fire as seen from on top of the Continental Divide looking West Tuesday. SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
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Firefighters Sam Tacchini, right and Allan Blofsky watch the progression of the southern edge of the West Fork Fire from the shore of Borns Lake above the West Fork Campground off of U.S. Highway 160 East of Pagosa Springs Tuesday. SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
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A helicopter with a water bucket passes over the smoke of the Windy Pass Fire Tuesday. SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
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“We know who’s taking care of us, that’s for sure,” said Roy Gee, of Joshua, Texas, who left his seasonal job at Grandview Cabins and RV in South Fork on Thursday to stay at the American Red Cross station in Del Norte. Gee and numerous others from the RV park were staying in their recreational vehicles at Del Norte High School and eating meals, showering, and using the internet at the facility. On Tuesday the indoor facility was almost empty of people displaced by the West Fork Complex Fire. STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald
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Firefighters battle the Papoose Fire 15 miles southwest of Creede off Colorado Highway 149 on Tuesday afternoon. STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald
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Firefighters work to save some homes at the edge of the Papoose Fire about 15 miles southwest of Creede off Colorado Highway 149 on Tuesday afternoon. STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald
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Drivers heading west on U.S. Highway 160 were turned away at South Fork on Tuesday afternoon. STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald
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Residents of Creede had to wait until the top of the hour, every hour, on Tuesday to catch the pilot car south to Del Norte and points beyond. STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald
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The Papoose Fire continued to make its way down to a home about 15 miles southwest of Creede off Colorado Highway 149 on Tuesday evening. STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald
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“This is probably the busiest night we’ve had in three or four days,” said Denise Dutwiler, owner of Cascada Bar & Grill and Cabins in Creede. Dutwiler said firefighters and the local theater company made the night better than most lately. Cheryl Voyles, manager of Cascada and Dutwiler’s daughter, said their seven cabins were booked up until the fire, when all the reservations were cancelled. STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald
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