Excellent video from the West Fork Complex

This video was obviously shot by a firefighter on the West Fork Complex and has some excellent images of the fire. Be sure and notice the horizontal roll vortex at 1:35.

West Fork Complex from Hon schlapfer on Vimeo.

The description of the video as it appears on Vimeo:
“One for the record books! June 13-24 2013
Started as ICT3 20 acres in the Wiminuche wilderness San Juan National Forest.Fire ran to 5,000 acres called NIMO Team. west Fork Jumped the continental divide, closed HWY 160,evacuated the town of South Fork,Got the call to get over to the Papoose fire,Evacuated town, found missing Boy Scout troop, and thanks to some solid folks we saved every house.”

We took the liberty of getting a screen grab from the video and decided that it needed a caption:

West Fork Complex


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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

9 thoughts on “Excellent video from the West Fork Complex”

  1. This was done by a fearless firefighter to the West Fork fire. It visually records the dark terror of the monster, but uses an effective pause and separation to highlight the success from the teamwork of these warriors.
    Highly inspirational.
    My home is 1/4 mile from Lory State Park. Last year both the High Park Fire then the Galena Fire dominated time and safety, everyone evacuated for almost 2 weeks total. God’s grace and the strength of all the heros spared our homes.

    1. Peter, with all due respect to the Gent that took this footage, we in the wildland fire business need to get beyond the “fearless firefighter” mentality: some fear is a good thing, recognizing that it’s just a wildfire and everything (including houses) will grow back some day, but dead firefighters, no matter how fearless, never return! We’re firefighters, not “warriors” like the men and women in our Armed Forces: our primary and most important job as wildland firefighters is to return home safely every night, no matter what the fire is doing! We have hopefully moved beyond considering wildland fire fighting “the moral equivalent of war!”

      1. Dick, I understand. I am a disabled, Viet Nam Era, U.S. Navy veteran. After a short time it was important to keep thinking and moving, despite the conditions. I am not a fire fighter, but grateful you are.

    1. Yup. Wish we saw more of that. More often, it seems like it’s “Save my cabin, but don’t cut this, don’t limb that”. Political treatment. I don’t know how many times people have complained because we moved their woodpiles! Believe me folks, we don’t disturb the yellow jackets just for fun.


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