MESA COUNTY, Colo. — The Pine Gulch Fire, burning less than 20 miles from Grand Junction in rural areas of both Mesa and Garfield Counties, is now 68,323 Acres and remains only 7% contained. The fire has been burning since the evening of Friday, July 31st. As it stands now, the fire is among the largest fires in Colorado’s history– it’s at least the 6th largest fire the state has ever seen, according to a Wildland Fire Spokesperson.
The fire was again very active on Wednesday (8/12) as it continued moving northeast approaching the indirect lines that had been constructed along the 204 road. Wednesday night, the fire made it into the Roan Creek drainage. As of this Thursday morning, the fire lines along the 204 road had held.
On Thursday, crews in Division A will again be holding the southern perimeter along X ½ road. Divisions E and K will be continuing structure protection work on the 204 road and conducting firing operations as conditions allow. Division Z will be working in the area between the 204 and 200 roads prepping and conducting firing operations as conditions allow to secure the area between Kimball Mountain, 200, and 204. The Lonesome Group, formerly known as Division G, will be prepping and burning fuels between the 200 road and X ½ road.
On Friday, Rocky Mountain Area Type 1 Incident Management Team will assume command of the incident.
See a map of the fire here: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6906/
Weather & Fuel Conditions: For the third day in a row, Red Flag Warning is in effect for the fire area. Temperatures are expected to reach 90 degrees over the fire and relative humidity is expected to drop as low as 7%. Winds will be a repeat of yesterday with down valley winds at 12-16 mph with gusts up to 27 mph in the afternoon. With the winds added to the already hot and dry conditions, there is a possibility for extreme, wind-and-fuels-driven fire behavior with high rates of spread, as we saw over the past two days.
Closures and Evacuations: Garfield County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation order for residents on Roan Creek (204) road, Clear Creek (211) road, Carr Creek (207) road and Brush Creek (209) road on Sunday night. Garfield County issued an evacuation order for residences on CR 202 on Saturday. For more information on evacuation orders, please visit https://garfieldcounty.net/. There is a staffed road closure at Roan Creek Road (204) at North Dry Fork (200) road.
Air Quality: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for points east of the Pine Gulch and Grizzly Creek fires. A smoke outlook for the Pine Gulch Fire is available where this update is posted and at https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/WesternColorado. Continued widespread visible smoke from the Pine Gulch fire will impact many parts of Colorado Thursday morning into Thursday night. Areas affected downwind from the fires include Craig & Meeker to the north, along the I-70 corridor in central Colorado and as far east as the Front Range and eastern plains. This will bring periods of smoke rated as moderate to levels unsafe for sensitive groups to areas northeast of the fire including Garfield County, Moffat County & Rio Blanco County. Brief periods of heavy smoke will also be possible. For more information on smoke levels, please visit https://airnow.gov.