De Beque, Colo.- The Pine Gulch Fire has now grown to more than 29,400 acres and remains at 7 percent contained, according to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management team coordinating the firefighting response.
Over 530 firefighters are now working to contain this fire.
The small town of De Beque with less than 1000 people sits just over 10 miles southeast of the Pine Gulch Fire.
Some residents in more rural parts close to the fire have now been evacuated. Specifically along County Roads 204 (Roan Creek Rd.), 211 (Clear Creek Rd.), 207 (Carr Creek Rd.), and 209 (Brush Creek Rd.
The fire is currently moving northeast, and authorities say the fire has no indication of getting close to De Beque’s town center.
An owner of a grocery store in the town center says she’s worried about the people who’ve had to evacuate so far, but doesn’t feel the town is threatened.
“I don’t believe so unless the winds drastically change,” said Shanelle Hansen, owner of De Beque Country Store. “I’m more worried about the families up the creek that it is threatening right now.”
Hansen is referring to Roan Creek a remote area northwest of De Beque. She adds some of the residents in that area who have evacuated are coming to her store to stock up on supplies.
People have been coming in and out, getting basics and stuff,” Hansen said. “It’s a great community- wide effort. People are banding together and helping each other move.”
The chief of De Beque Fire Protection District says, while the town of De Beque is not immediately threatened by the Pine Gulch Fire, he says precautions are being taken.
“We have management action points in place and that triggers pre-evacuation notices and or evacuation notices,” said Chief Mike Harvey.
De Beque Fire is just one of many agencies working with the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team to fight the Pine Gulch Fire. Harvey says the town is taking the necessary steps should a mass evacuation be needed, and that includes readying evacuation notices if they’re necessary.
“We have those in place as well for the town of De Beque,” Harvey said. “It’s a fluid situation.”
De Beque Fire Protection District is acting as a base for all authorities working on the Pine Gulch Fire. Chief Mike Harvey says he’s never seen this intense of a fire in the high desert landscape of Mesa and Garfield Counties. He says given the fuel (vegetation) the fire is burning, the course the fire has taken is unusual.
“I’ve been doing this for 35 years and this is the most erratic fire behavior in this fuel type that I’ve ever seen.”