Pine Gulch Fire update – containment 87 percent

Pine Gulch Fire Statistics:
Size: 139,007 acres
Containment: 87%
Total personnel: 390
Location: Approximately 18 miles north of Grand Junction, CO
Reported: July 31, approximately 5:15 p.m.
Cause: Lightning

Special note: Today’s rain may cause areas of debris slides or gully washes. Please use caution when driving on dirt roads. Please note there is still an area closure in effect for the fire (see below).

Current situation: Firefighters continue to monitor and patrol the Pine Gulch Fire from good roads, especially in the northwest area of the fire along Highway 139 and County Road 266. With cooler and wetter weather and containment approaching 100 percent, firefighters and firefighting equipment are demobilizing from the fire and the incident management team is preparing to return management of the fire back to local agencies by the end of the week.

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 as hand crews work in tandem with heavy equipment. Yesterday grinding up brush along the X5/10 Road to County Road 200 (Division A) was completed and the masticator will be released from the incident today. Suppression repair work will continue today, including work along Roan Creek Road (204) in Division Z and on County Road 222 in Division A on the east side of the fire, and work in the Douglas Pass area on the west side of the fire (Divisions D/E), including Highway 139, Barrel Springs Road and County Road 256. In the fire’s interior, repair will continue in the Lonesome Ridge area on the western side of the fire. Today’s weather will help suppression repair work by dampening soil that was loose and dry so that graders and other equipment can repair roads without the use of water tenders.

Weather forecast and fire behavior: “It’s going to be pretty nippy out there,” said incident meteorologist Andrew Deemer, as on the heels of a Red Flag Warning Day, a strong cold front moves through. Today will be mostly to partly cloudy with 100 percent chance of wetting rain. Rainfall totals for the day are likely to be 0.25-.50 inches. Snow will likely remain above 8,000 feet where 2-4 inches is possible. High temperatures at low elevations will be near 50 degrees and at high elevations near 40 degrees. Relative humidity will be 30-45 percent. Winds will be from the north, 10-15 mph, with gusts at low elevations up to 25 mph and on ridges up to 45 mph. Strong gusts could persist for much of the day and subside after sunset. Wednesday morning temperatures will be cold, dropping into the low 40s/upper 30s in the lowest elevations. The freeze level could drop as low as 6,500 feet.

No fire perimeter growth is expected today. Given the weather, there are no areas of concern in the Pine Gulch Fire for fire behavior. Fine live and dead vegetation will be wet and unlikely to burn, but heavier materials are still extremely dry and may continue to smolder in sheltered locations. Potential for fire growth outside of current firelines is low.

Area closures: 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.

Equipment and personnel: 3 Type 2 hand crews, 2 helicopters, 7 engines, 5 bulldozers, 5 water tenders, 1 masticator, 1 skidgen and overhead/support personnel.

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 – containment 87 percent