Photo via Pine Gulch Fire Facebook Page
The Pine Gulch Fire grew to 51,455 acres on Tuesday and remains 7% contained. The fire was very active on Tuesday as it continued moving northeast. In addition to activity on the northeast head of the fire, there was also increased activity on the northwestern flank as the fire moved northeast across the 200 road and north over western Cow Ridge. There was some activity on the western end of the North Dry Fork (200) road in an area inaccessible to crews. That area is being monitored and is being addressed by bucket drops from helicopters.
Overnight, night shift crews successfully conducted a firing operation south of the lines constructed along part of the 204 road and continued structure protection work on areas north of Kimball Mountain. On Wednesday, crews in Division A will be holding the southern perimeter along X ½ road. Divisions Z and G will continue their firing operations, as conditions allow, between North Dry Fork (200) road and the X ½ road on the southeast edge of the fire. The Roan Group will continue structure protection along areas north of the fire and will be monitoring the burn operation completed last night. As of this morning, the fire had not yet reached Roan Creek. Conditions over the Pine Gulch Fire are not expected to improve on Wednesday. Like yesterday, humidity will be low, temperatures high, and winds consistent throughout the day with gusts in the afternoon. The fire is expected to be very active again today.
Weather & Fuel Conditions: A Red Flag Warning is in effect for the fire area again today. Temperatures are expected to reach 90 degrees over the fire and relative humidity is expected to drop as low as 6%. Winds today are expected to be similar to yesterday with down-valley winds at 13-17 mph with gusts up to 27 mph. With the winds added to the already hot and dry conditions, there is a possibility for extreme, wind-driven fire behavior and high rates of spread, as we saw yesterday.
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 western Mesa County and Garfield County. 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 on Wednesday. Areas affected downwind from the fires North to Meeker, along the I-70 corridor, and as far east as the Front Range region and the eastern plains. This will bring periods of mainly ‘moderate’ to ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ levels of smoke to areas northeast of the fire including Garfield County and Rio Blanco County, however, 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.