GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Fire officials say Colorado’s second largest fire in history, the Pine Gulch Fire, was stable overnight. The blaze has burned almost 136,000 acres, which is an increase of about 1,000 acres from yesterday, but the fire team still has 47% of the fire contained.
The Pine Gulch fire has burned through the Book Cliffs for about a month now, and firefighters are all over the mountains trying to stop the spread. The fire team says there is zero potential for movement in the east, and there is minimal movement in the south. The fire team is keeping a close eye on the western side of the mountain, and the team is most concerned with the north side. Pat Seekins, an operations section chief for the fire, says the north “is where we have the most of our fire activity, and our top priority for the fire right now.”
Officials say the flames are tough to attack in the north, so firefighters must be cautious.
Another challenge the fire team may encounter deals with the potential thunderstorms in the forecast, and David Boyd from the Pine Gulch Fire Team says the storms are a mixed blessing. The possible thunderstorms bring the risk of more lightening that can possibly start another flame. In addition, the unpredictable wind patterns can cause some problems. However, the storm may bring some rain and increase humidity that will help lessen fire activity. Boyd says that every fire member will be keeping the thunderstorms on his/her radar.
Boyd also says the even though the fire conditions are stable, and today, the smoke is not as thick as it has been over the last week, the Pine Gulch Fire is still actively burning. Therefore, it is not unusual for there to be more visible smoke in the Grand Valley until there is a season ending weather event, such as rain or snow.
KREX 5 News and FOX4 News will provide more updates on the Pine Gulch Fire as they become available.