Pine Gulch Fire 44% Contained, Mesa County Declares Disaster Emergency

Local News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- According to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, the Pine Gulch Fire is now 133,700 acres, and at 44% containment.

A public information officer for the Rocky Mountain Team says the jump up to 44% containment is partially due to lower fire activity and effective firefighting efforts on the eastern portion of the fire.

“All of that is line that they’ve (firefighters) been watching,” said fire spokesperson Tracy LeClair. “You know, it made a big run a week, week and a half ago. But since that time nothing has really moved.”

The western portion of the Pine Gulch Fire continues to burn given current wind conditions. Firefighters are trying to divert the blaze to the area of the Hunter Fire which burned in the Bookcliffs in June.

“One of the areas of focus is going to be around the old Hunter Fire burn scar,” LeClair said. “We’re looking to tie our containment lines into that and make sure there are no gaps.”

On Monday the Mesa County Commissioners approved a local disaster emergency in response to the Pine Gulch Fire. This doesn’t mean the fire is threatening highly populated areas in the county, but this will provide the county with resources to deal with the toll the Pine Gulch Fire has taken on the environment.

“The disaster declaration primarily gets to what our local capability is,” said Mesa County Emergency Services Director Andy Martsolf. “This fire burned across multiple drainage areas which impacts watersheds.”

Martsolf says the intense flames in the Bookcliffs could impact vital water supplies for the county. The disaster declaration will help prepare the county for whatever problems this might cause.

“This declaration will pull together a group of county staff primarily in the public works and engineering divisions and will seek the assistance of the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) to help understand what the impacts of the watershed are.”

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