Pine Gulch Fire Update – August 27, 2020 – 8:30 a.m.
Pine Gulch Fire statistics:
Size: approximately 135,958 acres
Total Personnel: 935
Location: Approximately 18 miles north of Grand Junction, CO
Reported: July 31, approximately 5:15 p.m.
Current situation: There was minimal growth on the Pine Gulch Fire yesterday (38 acres). Active fire spread outside the fire perimeter should be limited again today due to successful containment lines. Most fire activity will be interior burning when fire picks up pockets of unburned fuels. Today, this is most likely on the west side in Division D, where smoke may be seen coming from within the fire perimeter.
Crews were highly successful in their efforts to build direct control line in the East Salt Creek area of Division F, and this control line is holding well. Today, heavy equipment operators will work to complete secondary control lines north of there. More containment was added in Division K yesterday, and the Pine Gulch Fire is now 53% contained. In Divisions K, Z, and A, firefighters are backhauling unneeded equipment. Some equipment and personnel will be released so they can be utilized on other fires in the region where the need is greater. The fire near the Division A/B break shows no signs of breaching containment lines, and Divisions B and D are in patrol and monitor status. Crews in Division E will work on any remaining mop-up needs.
The overall focus on the Pine Gulch Fire is quickly shifting from fire suppression to suppression repair. Suppression repair involves actions that help minimize damage to soil, water, and other resources directly attributable to fire suppression activities. Firefighters will work with specialists called Resource Advisors who will help ascertain needs.
Thunderstorms were widespread just north of the fire yesterday with one moving directly over the eastern half of the fire. This prompted a brief Flash Flood Warning for the eastern half of the Pine Gulch fire. There was a small amount of debris flow near Kimball Creek Rd. More thunderstorms are predicted, and these bring the potential for debris flows and flash flooding.
Weather & fuel conditions: The chance of thunderstorms will continue. Any storms that develop could produce winds gusts up to 40 mph. There is a 15% chance of wetting rain. Maximum temperature is around 90 with 19-22% relative humidity. Winds are forecast from the west-southwest at 8-11 mph with gusts up to 19. The coming days bring more chance for thunderstorms with similar chance for gustier winds. As the chance of rainfall increases, so does the threat of flash flooding and debris flow. While there has been moisture in the area, its effects will be short term because of continued drought conditions; any new fire starts in the vicinity still have the potential for growth.
Evacuations: Garfield County: 4A Ridge Road (256), Salt Wash (205), King Road (258), Clear Creek Road (211), Carr Creek Road (207), Kimball Creek Road (202). A pre-evacuation order is in effect for all residents of Garfield County west of CO-139 to the Utah border, and any formerly evacuated residents remain in pre-evacuation. For more information: www.garfieldcounty.net. 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 V 2/10 Rd. at the 44 Rd, Coal Canyon Rd. just past the Cameo Shooting Range. 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. BLM lands north of Loma, Fruita, Grand Junction, and Palisade. Please see: www.tinyurl.com/PineGulchBLM
Air quality: Air quality health advisories may be issued in areas near 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. For more information on smoke levels, please visit https://airnow.gov.
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.
Interactive fire map: https://arcg.is/W0izr
Smoke outlook: https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/WesternColorado
Resources include: 3 Type 1 hand crews, 10 Type 2 hand crews, 8 helicopters, 66 engines, 14 bulldozers,
26 water tenders, and overhead/support personnel