*The following is a full news release from the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, the agency in charge of the Pine Gulch Fire firefighting effort.*
An overnight mapping flight from Friday into Saturday measured the Pine Gulch Fire at 74,807 acres and it remains 7% contained.
Operations today will focus on the northern edge of the fire, with two new Divisions working on developing additional containment options along roads in the area of 204 Road, 207 Road, and 209 Road. Hand crews will continue to extend lines to the northwest along Kimball Mountain and near Mud Spring in Divisions K and E. Structure protection crews will also be patrolling and mopping up around structures where the fire has passed through. Burnout operations will take place only if fire behavior dictates, especially in areas closest to values at risk.
Bulldozers and hand crews will continue to work the northern edge and along 204 Road. Division K was the most active last night, with crews deploying an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) to conduct strategic aerial ignitions when the temperatures, winds and humidity were the most favorable. The black containment line held well in Division A despite the wind shift yesterday. Division D is exploring additional options to implement bulldozers to secure additional line near established roads. Division Z has been fairly quiet over the past several days, with the line along 204 holding well.
Weather & Fuel Conditions: Temperatures are expected to move into the 90’s with relative humidity between 8-10 percent. Winds will be out of the northwest, with speeds of 5-8mph and a few gusts up to 12mph. Smoke is expected to settle in the valley until early afternoon.
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 road closure in effect on Roan Creek Road (204) at North Dry Fork (200) road; that closure is being staffed by a Sheriff’s deputy.
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 smoke from the Pine Gulch fire will impact many parts of Colorado Saturday morning into Saturday night. Areas affected downwind from the fires include Craig and Meeker to the north, along the I-70 corridor in central Colorado, and as far east as the Front Range region and eastern plains. This will bring periods of smoke rated as ‘moderate’ to levels ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ levels to areas northeast of the fire including Garfield County, Moffat County, Mesa County, and Rio Blanco County. Brief periods of heavy smoke will also be possible. For more information on smoke levels, please visit https://airnow.gov.
Emergency Alerts: Both Mesa and Garfield counties have emergency alert systems to alert citizens – by cell or land line phone – about emergencies, evacuations, and other important community news. To sign up for alerts in Garfield County, please visit garco911.com. For Mesa County alerts, please visit bit.ly/Emergency_Alerts.
Temporary Flight Restrictions: A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place over the Pine Gulch Fire. Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Whenever a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of the area. For more information, visit http://knowbeforeyoufly.org.