Pine Gulch Fire update: Residents ordered to be ready to evacuate as Colorado wildfire grows

Authorities asked residents near the Pine Gulch Fire north of Grand Junction to be packed ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice as the fire continued to grow this weekend.

The 21,364-acre wildfire has been growing steadily since it was sparked by lightning on July 31, fueled by dry vegetation, gusty winds and low humidity. The fire is burning in remote, steep slopes about 18 miles north of Grand Junction in Mesa and Garfield counties, and the rough terrain has made firefighting difficult. It is about 7% contained.

A handful of homes along County Roads 200 and 202 have already been evacuated, authorities said Saturday, and residents who live along County Roads 204, 209, 207 and Clear Creek Road were issued pre-evacuation notices Saturday evening.

Those residents should be packed and ready to leave immediately should the fire approach, authorities said, noting that the order affects only about eight homes.

Residents in the pre-evacuation area will be notified in-person by emergency personnel if an evacuation is ordered, and notifications will also be made through the Garfield County Emergency Notification System and online.

Nearly 500 people are fighting the fire — 472 personnel are on scene — and authorities expected to see “moderate to high rates of spread” Sunday.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a 24-hour air quality warning for northern Mesa County and southwestern Garfield County Sunday morning, warning that the areas would see moderate and heavy smoke. The advisory encouraged residents who experience heavy smoke in their neighborhoods to stay inside.

Wildfire map

Click markers for details, use buttons to change what wildfires are shown. Map data is automatically updated by government agencies and could lag real-time events. Incident types are numbered 1-5 — a type 1 incident is a large, complex wildfire affecting people and critical infrastructure, a type 5 incident is a small wildfire with few personnel involved. Find more information about incident types at the bottom of this page.

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