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Pine Gulch Fire on Western Slope grows to over 20K acres, 7% contained

Posted at 11:16 AM, Aug 08, 2020

MESA COUNTY, Colo. — The Pine Gulch Fire about 18 miles north of Grand Junction grew to 20,089 acres Friday and went from being 5% contained to 0% containment, according to the Rocky Mountain Area Type 2 Incident Management Team.

The fast spread of the wildfire was driven by high temperatures, extremely low humidity, and strong afternoon winds Friday. Garfield County issued an evacuation order for residences on CR 202 and a pre-evacuation order for all residences on county roads 204, 207, 209, and Clear Creek Road.

The Pine Gulch Fire is now at 7% containment, reporting 21,364 acres. Some containment was reached Sunday due to successful firing operations on the southern side of the fire, officials said.

The fire was estimated at 11,846 acres Wednesday and had spread from Mesa County north to Garfield County. The fire has doubled in size since then and moved down Forshay Gulch on the north side of Horse Mountain to the 200 Road.

The fire was sparked by lightning on Aug. 2 around 5:15 p.m. It is mostly burning through juniper and oak trees, as well as sagebrush, officials said.

Smoke from the fire has affected air quality in the region and on the Front Range.

Fire danger across the region is rated as very high.