Grand Junction Field Office
Bureau of Land Management
2815 H Road Grand Junction Colorado 81506
Pine Gulch Fire Update
August 21, 2020 - 10 a.m.
Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team - Dan Dallas, Incident Commander
Information Center: (970) 628-0130, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Media Inquiries: (970) 812-3706, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Special Notes: The BLM has implemented an area closure for BLM lands north of Loma, Fruita, Grand Junction, and Palisade. Please see: www.tinyurl.com/PineGulchBLM
Current Situation: Yesterday, fire behavior remained relatively moderate for most of the day; however, it increased in the afternoon. Most of the activity was on the south side of the fire, near the Hunter Burn scar at the Division B/A break. Storm cells settled over the fire in this area, and outflow winds pushed fire east toward the established dozer line as predicted, but the dozer line is holding. Crews also accomplished successful burning operations in this area overnight, helping to hold the fire at the dozer line. As the inversion lifts and winds align with terrain, this area may become active again today, and crews will perform more burning operations as conditions permit. Further west in Division B, fire began to fill in the unburned area in Garvey Canyon, helping to even up that edge of the fire. In Divisions D and E on the west, the focus remains on Hwy 139 as a containment line, and crews will look for opportunities to perform burning operations between the highway and the fire as conditions allow. The 256 and 289 Roads remain control features; however, fuels here are heavy and terrain is steep, making it an unsafe area to directly engage the fire. If conditions allow, firefighters will perform burning operations in the coming days to help keep the fire east of Douglas Pass, where they may be able to engage it on more favorable ground. Fire managers also acknowledge the reality that upcoming weather and terrain could align in a way that causes growth into the Douglas Pass area. Crews are therefore performing structure assessment and preparation for values at the top of Douglas Pass, and firefighters are preparing multiple roads north of the 256 Road in Divisions F and L. Heavy equipment operators have already been working for several days to widen and improve roads in Division L to the north. In Division K, keeping the fire south of the 204 Road remains a priority. The east side of the fire has checked itself on natural barriers such as the Book Cliffs, and Divisions Z and A have continued to withstand the test of winds.
Firefighters assigned specifically to structure protection groups will be working on the west side of the fire today and along Hwy 139 to assess and prepare values in that area. Pine Gulch Fire operations are active 24 hours a day. Night operations are heavily staffed, with firefighters patrolling, assessing, and performing burning operations if called for.
Weather & Fuel Conditions: Mostly sunny today with a few cumulus clouds developing in the afternoon. Thunderstorms are possible, but drier air is moving into the region, so chances are slight. High pressure persists, keeping conditions hot and dry with temperatures up to 95 and relative humidity from 10-12%. Humidities may drop into single digits again as week goes on. Today’s winds will come from the ENE, shifting to come form the N and finally the NW at 8-11 mph with gusts 10-20 mph. Division B could again see winds from the south/southwest. Overall atmospheric conditions remain unstable.
Evacuations: Garfield County: 4A Ridge Road (256), Salt Wash (205), King Road (258), Clear Creek Road (211), Carr Creek Road (207), Kimball Creek Road (202). A pre-evacuation order is in effect for all residents of Garfield County west of CO-139 to the Utah border, and any formerly evacuated residents remain in pre-evacuation. For more information: www.garfieldcounty.net. There are currently no pre-evacuations or evacuations in Mesa County: www.sheriff.mesacounty.us/FireInformation. Closures: Roan Creek Road (204) at North Dry Fork (200). The V 2/10 Rd. at the 44 Rd, Coal Canyon Rd. just past the Cameo Shooting Range. The 21 Road north of the BLM boundary, 16 Road at V 8/10 Road, and the Q 5/10 Road is closed at 18 Rd. CO-139 Douglas Pass north of Loma from mile marker 6 to mile marker 39. BLM lands north of Loma, Fruita, Grand Junction, and Palisade. Please see: www.tinyurl.com/PineGulchBLM
Air Quality: Air Quality Health Advisories may be issued in areas near the Pine Gulch and Grizzly Creek fires. A smoke outlook for the Pine Gulch Fire is available where this update is posted and at https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/WesternColorado. For more information on smoke levels, please visit https://airnow.gov.
Temporary Flight Restrictions: A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place over the Pine Gulch Fire. Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. For more information, visit http://knowbeforeyoufly.org.
Pine Gulch Fire Statistics:
Size: approximately 124,934 acres
Total Personnel: 893
Location: Approximately 18 miles north of Grand Junction, CO
Reported: July 31, approximately 5:15 p.m.
For More Information:
Information Office: (970) 628-0130, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Media Inquiries: (970) 812-3706, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Interactive Fire Map: https://arcg.is/W0izr
Smoke Outlook: https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/WesternColorado
Resources Include: 3 Type 1 hand crews, 9 Type 2 hand crews, 9 helicopters, 64 engines, 11 bulldozers,
16 water tenders, and overhead/support personnel