According to the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center, the Pine Gulch Fire grew more than 37,000 acres Tuesday night and continued to grow throughout the day Wednesday. At 125,252 acres, it is now the second-largest fire in Colorado history.
Right now, there are four major fires crews are facing in the state:
The Pine Gulch Fire has grown larger than the Spring Creek Fire, which burned in southern Colorado down around La Veta Pass. That fire had been the second-largest in our history at 108,045 acres.
According to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, firefighting efforts are going well on the north and east sides of the fire. A thunderstorm overnight caused strong storm outflow, or strong winds, to surge into the fire expand it westward.
Did you hear thunder in Grand Junction last night? That's right...the #PineGulchFire produced hours of lightning and occasionally the bolts were visible. Here is a video taken at our office. The 3rd largest wildfire in Colorado's recorded history is full of surprises. #cowx pic.twitter.com/1u4ZlaEtlG— NWS Grand Junction (@NWSGJT) August 19, 2020
Hours of lightning and thunder were produced from the massive blaze. Under the right circumstances, a large fire can form a pyrocumulus cloud which can occasionally generate lightning and thunder. This is often seen in large volcanic eruptions.
WATCH: I worked in #GrandJunction as a reporter for two years. One of my friends there sent me this video showing #ash piled up on her car this morning. Hoping for some rain, @SamASchreier! 🎥: Taken in Downtown GJ by Cori Ward. @KOAA pic.twitter.com/GviOhij7p2— Colette Bordelon (@ColetteBordelon) August 19, 2020
Vigorous pyrocumulus growth associated with the #PineGulchFire (seen here via GOES 16) has produced frequent lightning flashes (blue dots in the image) the last few hours. Thunder, lightning and falling ash have all been observed here at the office. Absolutely wild! 🔥⚡ #COwx pic.twitter.com/F7qIzaoNi7— NWS Grand Junction (@NWSGJT) August 19, 2020
Three other large fires, the Grizzly Creek, Cameron Peak, and Williams Fork continue to burn and grow, but at a much slower rate.