Day 7: Rate of Growth Slows on Pine Gulch Fire, but containment drops from 5% to 0%

Local News

UPDATE, CORRECTION: There is a correction on the percentage of containment on Friday’s Fire Gulch Fire update. According to the fire spokesperson, the containment on the Pine Gulch fire has changed from 5% to 0%.

(ORIGINAL): Despite Red Flag conditions, growth of the Pine Gulch Fire was limited to approximately 1200 acres on Thursday.  The fire is now 13,074 acres and remains 0% (first reported as 5%) contained. The fire’s location on north side of Horse Mountain was sheltered from gusty afternoon winds, resulting in moderate fire activity yesterday. Fire growth was primarily on the northwest and northeast corners of the fire as it worked its way downhill in gullies and ridges.

Through the day on Thursday, crews in all divisions continued work removing vegetation along roads and constructing lines around the fire. Favorable conditions overnight gave the crews on swing shift an opportunity to conduct a firing operation along two miles of the O 9/10 Road. A firing operation uses a fire lit along a control line to consume fuel (vegetation) between the control line and the fire. The overnight firing operation was successful.

On Friday, crews on the south side of the fire will hold and improve lines along the O 9/10 Road in addition to continuing prep work on the west end of that road to potentially continue firing operation in the future. On the west-northwest side of the fire, crews will continue constructing line to the east with hand crews and bulldozers to tie into the 200 Road. Firefighters on the northeast side of the fire will continue improving the prep work on the North Dry Fork Road (200 Road) and continuing work around structures in that area. Crews on the south side of the fire will continue removing fuels along the X ½ Road. Aerial resources will be available again today to assist efforts on the ground.

Weather & Fuel Conditions: Friday will bring the second Red Flag Warning day to the Pine Gulch Fire. Winds will decrease slightly – with gusts from 22 to 25 mph and humidity could slightly increase, from 10 to 12%.

Temperatures will be in the mid-80’s. Fire activity is expected to increase in the afternoon as the wind picks up. There will be areas of light smoke around De Beque and along I-70 between Parachute and the Beaver Tail tunnel.

Closures and Evacuations: There is a road closure in place on Mesa County Road 200 at the Mesa-Garfield County line to prevent nonessential traffic from entering the fire area. The presence of non-fire traffic within the area is a distraction and a hazard to firefighters and members of the public. There are no evacuations in place at this time. 

Fire Restrictions: Fire danger across the region is rated as very high. Both Mesa County and Garfield County have Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. BLM lands within the Grand Junction Field Office are also under Stage 1 Restrictions. To learn more about fire restrictions on BLM-managed lands in western Colorado, please visit https://go.usa.gov/xfVFY.

Temporary Flight Restrictions: A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place over the Pine Gulch Fire. Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, fire crews 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.

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