Pine Gulch Fire update

August 30, 2020 – 9:00 a.m.

Pine Gulch Fire Statistics:
Size: approximately 139,006 acres
Containment: 77%
Total Personnel: 646
Location: Approximately 18 miles north of Grand Junction, CO
Reported: July 31, approximately 5:15 p.m.
Cause: Lightning

Southern Area Red Team – Mike Dueitt, Incident Commander

Equipment and Personnel Include: 2 Type 1 hand crews, 6 Type 2 hand crews, 3 helicopters, 30 engines, 11 bulldozers, 17 water tenders, 3 masticators, 4 skidgens, and overhead/support personnel

Information Center: (970) 628-0130, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Media Inquiries: (970) 812-3706, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Special Notes: This morning the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team transferred command of the Pine Gulch Fire to the Southern Area Type 1 Red Team. The Southern Area Red Team thanks the Rocky Mountain team for a smooth and thorough transition. We look forward to serving this community as containment of the Pine Gulch Fire increases and suppression repair continues.  

Current Situation: Throughout the fire, firefighters continue to improve and monitor firelines, protect and assess structures, and protect oil and gas resources, range allotments and sage grouse habitat. This includes improving firelines along the northwest side of the fire along Highway 139 and Road 266 (Division D) and monitoring lines along Road 204 and Roan Creek on the northern edge of the fire (Division K). As containment of the fire increases, firefighting equipment is being removed from areas, with some equipment staged to be ready to respond to potential fire activity. A suppression repair group will work outside and inside the fire perimeter, assessing and repairing sites that were damaged from containing the fire. Repair includes returning areas to pre-fire conditions as much as possible; for example, by moving berms from dozer lines, narrowing trails that were opened, preventing lines from causing erosion and cleaning up areas where fire retardant was dropped. Priority areas will include access to hunting areas. Fire personnel will contact private landowners over the next few days to secure permission to do suppression repair on their properties.

Weather Forecast & Fuel Conditions: Mostly sunny with highs in the mid 80’s at lower elevations and in the mid 70’s at higher elevations. Drier air moving into northwest Colorado will reduce the chance of thunderstorms to 20 percent and reduce relative humidity to 16 to 21 percent. Ridgetop winds will be gusty in the late afternoon with potential of gusts to 40 mph if thunderstorms develop. Heavy rainfall is possible. Winds at the top of the East Salt Creek drainage will gust stronger than other ridgetops due to the channeling effect of southwest winds.

Fire activity is expected to be low due to lower temperatures and higher humidity, however fire can spread quickly in dry vegetation exposed to high winds from thunderstorms. Along the west flank of the fire, fire will continue to smolder and creep, backing downslope into wind. Munger Creek and Hunter Creek drainages in this area have the greatest potential for active fire if updrainage winds align with burnable vegetation. Minimal fire behavior is expected for the remainder of the fire, with isolated smoldering and hot spots.

Evacuations and Pre-Evacuations: Evacuations and pre-evacuations are changing in Garfield County as fire activity decreases. Please go to: www.garfield-county.com and scroll down to the “evacuations” tab for the most recent updates. There are currently no pre-evacuations or evacuations in Mesa County: www.sheriff.mesacounty.us/FireInformation. Closures: Roan Creek Road (204) at North Dry Fork (200). The 21 Road north of the BLM boundary, 16 Road at V 8/10 Road, and the Q 5/10 Road is closed at 18 Rd. Some BLM lands in the fire area are still closed. Please see: www.facebook.com/BLMColoradoFire

Air Quality: A smoke outlook for the Pine Gulch Fire is available at https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/WesternColorado. For more information on smoke levels, please visit https://airnow.gov.

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
Smoke Outlook: https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/WesternColorado  

Pine Gulch Fire update