Pine Gulch Fire update

September 6, 2020 – 9:00 a.m.
Southern Area Red Team – Mike Dueitt, Incident Commander
Information Center: (970) 628-0130, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. 
Media Inquiries: (970) 812-3706, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Pine Gulch Fire Statistics:
Size: 139,007 acres
Containment: 87%
Total personnel: 405
Location: Approximately 18 miles north of Grand Junction, CO
Reported: July 31, approximately 5:15 p.m.
Cause: Lightning

Equipment and Personnel: 3 Type 2 hand crews, 2 helicopters, 8 engines, 6 bulldozers, 5 water tenders, 1 masticator, 1 skidgen and overhead/support personnel

Special Notes: Drivers on Highway 139, especially in the Douglas Pass area, should use caution, as firefighting equipment and personnel will be in the area.

While celebrating Labor Day weekend, please check and follow current fire restrictions. Mesa County, Garfield County and the Bureau of Land Management are all under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions. This means no campfires. And it means no open flame unless fueled by gas or other liquid fuel in appropriate containers. See bit.ly/Fire_Restrictions for what else is prohibited and what is allowed at this stage.

Current Situation: Firefighters continue to monitor, patrol and mop up the Pine Gulch Fire. A warming and drying trend has caused several areas of heat within containment lines to flare up. Yesterday one of these was visible from Highway 139 at the northwest corner of the fire (Division D). Firefighters are monitoring this fire and it poses no threat to containment lines, which are well fortified. Firefighters will also monitor an area on the east side of the fire near Pedigo Gulch, north of the Garfield/Mesa county line east of Horse Mountain in Division A. A helicopter dropped water on a flareup there on Friday. Hand crews continue to work with heavy equipment to mop up along the southern rim of the East Salt Creek main canyon at the northern edge of the fire in Division E. Firefighters took an infrared flight over the fire this morning to check hot spots.

Assessing and repairing damage from fire suppression continues throughout the fire perimeter and interior to ensure that actions taken to fight the fire, such as building firelines, do not have long-lasting impacts to natural resources. Good progress is being made, including repair along Roan Creek Road (204). Hand crews are working in tandem with heavy equipment in several sites.

Weather Forecast and Fire Behavior: Mostly sunny today, becoming partly cloudy in the afternoon with high temperatures at low elevations near 90 degrees and at high elevation in the mid 80’s. Relative humidity 5-10 percent. Winds will be mostly terrain-driven, 4-8 mph with gust near 25 mph and the air will be unstable. Afternoon winds on ridges will be from the west-northwest. Hot and dry conditions will persist with increasing gusts tomorrow, when a red flag warning has been issued from noon to 9:00 pm. A strong cold front will move through Monday night with much colder temperatures arriving Tuesday with afternoon highs only in the 50’s.

No fire perimeter growth is expected today as smoldering and creeping fire activity will continue within containment lines. Isolated pockets of burning live and dead vegetation may be visible in the fire’s interior. Surface fire and isolated single tree torching is possible. Firefighters are monitoring these pockets to ensure they pose no threat to containment lines. Unstable air, dry air and extremely dry live and dead vegetation indicate burning indices approaching red flag warning conditions. Any new starts could lead to rapid fire growth.

Area Closure: A Bureau of Land Management area closure is in effect for lands managed by the agency in the fire area. Areas are closed beyond the following road junctions:

• 266 Road at Highway 139
• County Road 200 at County Line
• 21 Road at entrance to Hunter Canyon
• 16 Road at V8/10 Road
• County (Roan Creek) Road 204 at 209 intersection
• End of V2/10 Road at BLM closure
• Q 5/10 Road at 18 Road
• Garvey Canyon Road

For more information, see www.facebook.com/BLMColoradoFire

Open Areas:
• County Road 256 east of Douglas Pass
• Base of Bookcliffs
• Coal Canyon
• North Fruita Desert, 18 Road, campground and bike trails
• V 2/10 Road north of the Wild Horse Management Area
• Mount Garfield hiking trail to foot travel

Emergency Alerts: For Garfield County, please visit garco911.com. 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. For more information, visit http://knowbeforeyoufly.org.

For more information:
Information office: (970) 628-0130, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Media inquiries: (970) 812-3706, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Email: 2020.PineGulch@firenet.gov
Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6906/
Facebook: https://facebook.com/PineGulchFireCO
Interactive fire map: https://arcg.is/W0izr
Highway information: https://cotrip.org/home.htm

Pine Gulch Fire update