Red Flag Conditions continue as Pine Gulch Fire grows to 73,000 Acres

Incident type: Wildfire
Size:
73,381 acres
Containment:
7 %
Total personnel:
745
Location:
Approximately 18 miles north of Grand Junction, CO
Reported:
July 31, approximately 5:15 p.m.
Cause:
Lightning

For More Information:
Public Information Office: (970) 628-0130, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Media Inquiries: (970) 812-3706
Email: 2020.PineGulch@firenet.gov
InciWeb: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6906/
Facebook: facebook.com/PineGulchFireCO
Interactive Fire Map: arcg.is/W0izr
Smoke Outlook: fires.airfire.org/outlooks/WesternColorado

Update: 8.14.20, 9:12 a.m. – The Pine Gulch Fire mapped overnight at 73,381 acres, still 7% containment.

As the fire continues to push northeast, crews have been able hold it at Roan Rd (204) thus far. Fire managers anticipate another hot, dry day working to suppress this fire. The public can expect to see continued smoke in the area.

Update: 8.13.20, 9:35 p.m. – Tonight, the Pine Gulch Fire is mapped at 69,135 acres with 7% containment.

Tomorrow morning at 6 a.m., the Pine Gulch Fire will be transitioning command between the Rocky Mountain Area Type 2 Team Black and the Rocky Mountain Area Type 1 Incident Management Team.

The public information resources that have been produced to date – the Inciweb site, this Facebook page, the interactive map, the information office phone line (970-628-0130), and the media line (970-812-3706) will continue to be available after the transition. The updates and the video briefings will continue to be produced. We will have a full update on today’s activities on the fire in the morning.

Pine Gulch Fire statistics – update 8.13.20, 11 a.m.:

Current Situation: An overnight mapping flight measured the Pine Gulch Fire at 68,323 acres and it remains 7% contained. The fire was again very active on Tuesday as it continued moving northeast approaching the indirect lines that had been constructed along the 204 road. Last night, the fire made it into the Roan Creek drainage. As of this morning, the fire lines along the 204 road had held.

On Thursday, crews in Division A will again be holding the southern perimeter along X ½ road. Divisions E and K will be continuing structure protection work on the 204 road and conducting firing operations as conditions allow. Division Z will be working in the area between the 204 and 200 roads prepping and conducting firing operations as conditions allow to secure the area between Kimball Mountain, 200, and 204. The Lonesome Group, formerly known as Division G, will be prepping and burning fuels between the 200 road and X ½ road.

On Friday, Rocky Mountain Area Type 1 Incident Management Team will assume command of the incident.

Weather & fuel conditions: For the third day in a row, Red Flag Warning is in effect for the fire area. Temperatures are expected to reach 90 degrees over the fire and relative humidity is expected to drop as low as 7%. Winds will be a repeat of yesterday with down valley winds at 12-16 mph with gusts up to 27 mph in the afternoon. With the winds added to the already hot and dry conditions, there is a possibility for extreme, wind-and-fuels-driven fire behavior with high rates of spread, as we saw over the past two days.

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 staffed road closure at Roan Creek Road (204) at North Dry Fork (200) road.

Air quality: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for points east of the Pine Gulch and Grizzly Creek fires. 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 visible smoke from the Pine Gulch fire
will impact many parts of Colorado Thursday morning into Thursday night. Areas affected downwind from the fires include Craig & Meeker to the north, along the I-70 corridor in central Colorado and as far east as the Front Range and eastern plains. This will bring periods of smoke rated as moderate to levels unsafe for sensitive groups to areas northeast of the fire including Garfield County, Moffat County & Rio Blanco County. 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.

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. 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.

Red Flag Conditions continue as Pine Gulch Fire grows to 73,000 Acres