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No additional growth expected on Pine Gulch Fire

Firefighters from all across the state and from across the country have traveled to help local agencies fight this massive blaze.
Firefighters from all across the state and from across the country have traveled to help local agencies fight this massive blaze.(Pine Gulch Fire Facebook Page)
Published: Aug. 1, 2020 at 10:44 AM MDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2020 at 10:20 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Igniting on July 31, 2020, the Pine Gulch Fire grew to be the largest fire in Colorado history at 139,007 acres, equivalent to 217 square miles. Situated roughly 18 miles north of Grand Junction, the impacts of the fire will loom well into the future for ranchers and outfitters in the area.

Local agencies have assumed control of the fire from the Incident Teams that have since left to go battle flames out west. With the fire currently 95% contained and no expected growth being predicted, the main focus of the fire is rehabilitation efforts to the land that has been scorched. Some new vegetation growth is starting to appear in some areas within the burn scar, but until next spring, virtually no vegetation will be there to absorb water from upcoming storms. This makes the area prone to flash flooding, which crews are working to fix.

There are still 253 total personnel assigned to the fire, down from over 900 personnel during the fires peak activity.

Due to limited firefighting resources caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and record fires burning out west near the coast, both Mesa and Garfield County remain in Stage 2 Fire Restrictions. Along those lines, the entire state of Colorado is under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions.

Bureau of Land Management closures are still in effect in the fire area. You can find those details below.

The BLM says that the closure is to ensure public and firefighter safety during suppression and rehabilitation efforts.
The BLM says that the closure is to ensure public and firefighter safety during suppression and rehabilitation efforts.(Pine Gulch Fire Facebook Page)
Senator Cory Gardner (pictured), as well as Governor Jared Polis, have both stopped in Grand Junction to visit the Incident Command Post of the Pine Gulch Fire.
Senator Cory Gardner (pictured), as well as Governor Jared Polis, have both stopped in Grand Junction to visit the Incident Command Post of the Pine Gulch Fire. (Twitter)

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office has lifted all evacuation orders from the fire, but some roads in the area remain closed.

These include:

  • Roan Creek Road at North Dry Fork
  • 21 Road north of the BLM boundary
  • 16 Road at V 8/10 Road
  • Q 5/10 Road at 18 Road
  • Garvey Canyon Road
  • 266 Road at Highway 139

The ten largest wildfires in Colorado history according to the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center are:

  • Pine Gulch Fire, 2020, Bookcliffs area (139,007 acres)
  • Hayman Fire, 2002, Pike National Forest (137,760 acres)
  • Spring Creek Fire, 2018, Sangre de Cristo Mountains (108,045 acres)
  • Cameron Peak Fire, 2020, Red Feather Lakes area (102,596 acres)
  • High Park Fire, 2012, Roosevelt National Forest (87,284 acres)
  • Missionary Ridge Fire, 2002, Durango area (70,485 acres)
  • West Fork Fire, 2013, Wolf Creek area (58,570 acres)
  • 416 Fire, 2018, Durango area (54,129 acres)
  • Papoose Fire, 2013, Creede area, (49,628 acres)
  • Bridger Fire, 2008, Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site (46,612 acres)

We’ll continue to update this article.

Copyright 2020 KKCO. All rights reserved.

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