Current situation: The Pine Gulch Fire has been very active over the last 36 hours, growing to 11,846 acres by Wednesday evening. Containment remains at 5%. The fire has primarily grown to the north with small increases in acreage on the northeast on Wednesday and northwest on Wednesday night.
On Thursday, crews on the south side of the fire will hold and improve the prep work that was done along the 910 Road on Wednesday. On the west-northwest side of the fire, crews were able to tie into a rocky slope on the west side of the fire yesterday and will continue constructing line to the east with hand crews and bulldozers over the course of the day Thursday. Firefighters on the north side of the fire will continue removing fuels along the North Dry Fork Road (200 Road) and continuing structure assessments. Crews on the east-northeast side of the fire will continue removing fuels along the X ½ Road and will be putting structure protection in place for structures on the west side of the fire area. Aerial resources will be available again today to assist efforts on the ground.
Four more engines and additional crews will be added to a “swing shift.” These crews will work the late afternoon to early morning hours in on the south side of the fire to continue operations initiated during the day.
Weather & fuel conditions: Even though temperatures will be a few degrees cooler on Thursday, a Red Flag Warning is in effect for the Pine Gulch Fire from 11am to 8pm due to expected gusty winds and hot, dry conditions. The forecast calls for wind gusts of 25 to 30 mph in the afternoon with very low humidity – near 10%. Conditions over next two days will be critical on the fire line as activity is expected increase with potential for high rates of spread.
Closures and evacuations: There is a closure in place on Mesa County Road X 1/2 after High Lonesome Ranch (275 County Road 222) to prevent nonessential traffic from entering the fire area. The presence of non-fire traffic within the area is a distraction and a hazard to firefighters and members of the public. There are no evacuations in place at this time.
Fire restrictions: Fire danger across the region is rated as very high. Both Mesa County and Garfield County have Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. BLM lands within the Grand Junction Field Office are also under Stage 1 Restrictions. To learn more about fire restrictions on BLM-managed lands in western Colorado, please visit https://go.usa.gov/xfVFY.
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.
Pine Gulch Fire Statistics:
Size: 11,846 acres
Total personnel: 232
Location: approximately 18 miles north of Grand Junction, CO
Reported: July 31, approximately 5:15 p.m.