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Pine Gulch Fire impacting surrounding communities

Smoke from the Pine Gulch Fire has been noticed across Colorado, but now its heavy in Rifle. This, as the fire approaches the 30,000 acre mark.
Smoke from the Pine Gulch Fire has been noticed across Colorado, but now its heavy in Rifle. This, as the fire approaches the 30,000 acre mark.(Jason Burger)
Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 9:50 PM MDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2020 at 10:51 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -

Smoke from the Pine Gulch Fire has been noticed across Colorado, but now it’s heavy in Rifle. This, as the fire, approaches the 30,000-acre mark.

Tuesday morning the fire was mapped at 36,449 acres.

“I’m pretty sure they’ll get it contained sooner or later, and we’ll pray for some rain and it’ll do its job, and I think it’ll be alright,” said a Rifle resident named Dave.

As a Rifle resident his whole life, Dave is optimistic about the fire, but he’s got friends that are too close for comfort.

“I’ve got some friends that live over by Piceance Creek, and I’ve been keeping in touch with them,” he said.

A tough reality, as the fire grows by thousands of acres every day.

“They’re concerned it might get a little closer but I doubt it,” he said.

“The smoke has actually carried to the Front Range, so the Denver area can smell our smoke when they get up in the morning as well,” said Ronda Scholting, with Rocky Mountain Incident Management.

The whole state, and Garfield County residents realizing the gravity of the situation.

“The Garfield County Sheriff’s Department around 10 last night told folks on the 204, the 211, the 209, and 207 to evacuate immediately,” Scholting said.

But fire officials say if you see several columns of smoke go up, it’s all still the same fire.

“It goes to what we call pockets of fuel, like trees, brush, sage grass, something like that…and it will work its way slowly,” Scholting said.

And even with over 500 personnel working the fire, putting boots on the ground is difficult with a blaze like this.

“Because it started in a very remote area that is rugged and steep, it’s very unsafe to put firefighters in there, in most of the areas of this fire,” Scholting said.

Monday night, the fire is still 7% contained, and Garfield County officials have put out an air quality advisory because of all the smoke.

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