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At 69,135 acres and growing, the Pine Gulch Fire is one of Colorado's largest wildfires ever

At 68,000 acres and growing, the Pine Gulch Fire is one of Colorado's largest wildfires ever
Posted at 1:12 PM, Aug 13, 2020

UPDATE | Friday, 8 a.m. — The Pine Gulch Fire, which was 69,135 acres as of Thursday at 9:30 p.m., is now 73,381 acres, according to fire officials. Click here to read Friday's update on the fire.

The state's 10 largest fires, ranked by acreage, are:
1. Hayman Fire (2002): 137,760 acres
2. Spring Fire (2018): 108,045 acres
3. High Park Fire (2012): 87,284 acres
4. Pine Gulch Fire (2020): 73,381 acres
5. Missionary Ridge Fire (2002): 72,962 acres
6. 416 Fire (2018): 54,000 acres
7. Bridger Fire (2008): 45,800 acres
8. Last Chance Fire (2012): 45,000 acres
9. Bear Springs/Callie Marie fires (2011): 44,662 acres
10. 117 Fire (2018): 42,795 acres

The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center said the West Fork Complex fire, which burned a total of 109,632 acres in 2013, is not included on this list since it involved three separate fires.
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MESA COUNTY, Colo. -- The Pine Gulch Fire is now ranked as one of the largest wildfires ever recorded in Colorado.

Overnight mapping measured the fire, which started burning after a lightning strike on July 31, at 69,135 acres as of Thursday at 9:30 p.m., according to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team. It remains 7% contained.

Pine Gulch Fire_Wyoming Hotshots/Pine Gulch Fire 2

Almost 750 fire personnel are on the ground and in the air fighting the blaze as it burns about 18 miles north of Grand Junction.

The fire continued moving northeast Wednesday and reached the Roan Creek drainage during the evening. As of Thursday morning, the fire lines along County Road 204 had held the blaze from moving forward, according to the incident management team.

Throughout the day Thursday, crews are focusing on holding the southern perimeter, protecting structures and conducting fire operations as they are able to.

Pine Gulch Fire map as of August 13 2020

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

The weather has played a major role in the fire's spread. Hot, dry and windy conditions have forced three days of Red Flag Warnings with temperatures soaring into the 90s and winds hovering in the teens, with gusts up to 27 mph.

The state's 10 largest fires, ranked by acreage, are:
1. Hayman Fire (2002): 137,760 acres
2. Spring Fire (2018): 108,045 acres
3. High Park Fire (2012): 87,284 acres
4. Missionary Ridge Fire (2002): 72,962 acres
5. Pine Gulch Fire (2020): 69,135 acres
6. 416 Fire (2018): 54,000 acres
7. Bridger Fire (2008): 45,800 acres
8. Last Chance Fire (2012): 45,000 acres
9. Bear Springs/Callie Marie fires (2011): 44,662 acres
10. 117 Fire (2018): 42,795 acres

The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center said the West Fork Complex fire, which burned a total of 109,632 acres in 2013, is not included on this list since it involved three separate fires.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for areas east of the Pine Gulch Fire and Grizzly Creek Fire, which has, so far, burned 6,251 acres near Glenwood Springs.

Click here to learn more about the smoke outlook.

Pine Gulch Fire_Wyoming Hotshots/Pine Gulch Fire 3

There have been several evacuations for the Pine Gulch Fire, though no new orders have been announced since Sunday evening.

That day, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office ordered evacuations for residents on the following roads:

  • Roan Creek Road/County Road 204 (road closure also in effect)
  • Clear Creek Road/County Road 211
  • Carr Creek Road/County Road 207
  • Brush Creek Road/County Road 209

Residents on Kimball Creek Road/County Road 202 were evacuated on Saturday. Authorities have closed that road.

To learn more about these evacuations, click here.

Residents in the affected counties can sign up to receive alerts and new information on the fire here for Garfield County and here for Mesa County.

A temporary flight restriction is in place over the Pine Gulch Fire. No drones can fly in the area.