1 year Anniversary of the Pine Gulch Fire

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 5:43 PM MDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2021 at 10:46 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Today, July 31, we reflect on the 1 year anniversary of the start of the Pine Gulch Fire and the impact it had on our local firefighters, our community, and on our natural resources.

The Pine Gulch Fire grew to be the third largest fire in Colorado history, trailing behind the East Troublesome Fire and the Cameron Peak Fire. Spreading across 139,007 acres and taking a month and a half to fully contain.

The fire was started by a lightning strike about 18 miles north of Grand Junction. It was fueled by the dry vegetation and lack of moisture, combined with the hot temperatures and steep terrain.

Using both ground and aviation resources, the BLM has been able to proactively manage and suppress fires in Mesa County and surrounding counties.

We spoke to the Bureau of Land Management about what they are doing to help prevent this from happening again this year.

“We have a very active fuels reduction program here using mechanical treatments and prescribed fire,” said Upper Colorado River Fire Management Fire Prevention & Mitigation Specialist Patrick Kieran. “Each year we treat thousands of acres through the physical removal of fuels to break up the crown spacing & crown density of our fuels. And through prescribed fire, which lessens the fire activity for multiple years by removing & minimizing the biomass that is on the landscape.”

The fire was started on July 31, 2020, on Aug. 18 it spread to 30,000 acres due to 40 mile per hour winds.

It was declared fully contained on Sep. 15, 2020, by the Bureau of Land Management.

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