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Pine Gulch Fire on Western Slope nearing 12,000 acres and remains 5% contained

Pine Gulch Fire_Aug 5 2020
Posted at 8:01 AM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 13:50:13-04

MESA COUNTY, Colo. — The Pine Gulch Fire about 18 miles north of Grand Junction grew to 11,846 acres by 7 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the Rocky Mountain Area Type 2 Incident Management Team, the fire remains about 5% contained. The team reported that the fire has been "very active" over the past 36 hours.

The fire was estimated at 9,210 acres on Wednesday afternoon and had spread from Mesa County north to Garfield County. It continued to move north throughout the day Wednesday.

A Red Flag Warning remains in effect for the area from 11 a.m. through 8 p.m. Thursday for gusty winds and hot, dry temperatures.

Conditions over the next couple days will be critical as activity is expected to increase with potential for high rates of spread, the Rocky Mountain Area Type 2 Incident Management Team said.

As of 11:30 a.m. Thursday, there was one closure — on Mesa County Road X 1/2 after High Lonesome Ranch, located at 275 County Road 222. This closure is to prevent nonessential traffic from entering the fire area.

There are no evacuations in place as of Thursday mid-morning.

Chairman of the Board of Mesa County Commissioners Scott McInnis said the community is grateful for the type 2 incident management team and the 300 personnel working to put out the fire from both the ground and the air.

"We are happy to host the firefighting team here in Mesa County," McInnis said. "We welcome them to our community and thank them for the incredible work they are doing to protect us. Everyone is doing great work, and we are assured the fire crews are well taken care of."

The fire was sparked by lightning on Friday around 5:15 p.m.

It is mostly burning through juniper and oak trees, as well as sagebrush, officials said.

The Rocky Mountain Area Type 2 Incident Management Team said it plans to post an update with more details on the fire Thursday morning.