MESA COUNTY, Colo. — The largest wildfire in Colorado's recorded history has burned 139,007 acres and is 95% contained as of Thursday, Sept. 10.
The Pine Gulch Fire, burning in Mesa County north of Grand Junction, surpassed the Hayman Fire last month as the largest recorded in Colorado. The Hayman Fire burned 137,760 acres in 2002.
Fire officials said another tenth of an inch of rain fell on the Pine Gulch Fire on Wednesday, making total rainfall since Tuesday about one inch.
Wet weather has increased confidence in fire containment and management, so many firefighters and pieces of firefighting equipment have been released from the fire. The remaining focus at the Pine Gulch Fire is suppression repair, ensuing actions taken to fight the fire, such as building firelines, do not have long-lasting impacts to natural resources. This work will be managed by a smaller incident management team beginning Saturday, fire officials announced Thursday.
On the west side of the fire, priority areas for remaining suppression repair work include Douglas Pass, including Highway 139, Barrel Springs Road, County Road 256 and East Salt Creek. In the fire’s interior, priority areas are along Lonesome Ridge. Suppression repair is almost complete on the east side of the fire.
A Burned Area Emergency Response Team arrived at the Pine Gulch Fire on Wednesday, Sept. 9. This team, comprised of various experts in fields such as hydrology, biology, soil science, computer modeling, vegetation management, archaeology and recreation, will work with local specialists to evaluate post-fire effects. They will use remote sensing and field observations to gather data and recommend actions.
> Above video: The impact of the Pine Gulch Fire on ranchers.
Approximately 269 personnel are helping to fight the Pine Gulch Fire, which has burned five structures — one a primary residence, which burned Aug. 18, and four minor structures, such as sheds.
There are no longer evacuation or pre-evacuation orders for the Pine Gulch Fire, as of Thursday, Sept. 10.
Closures as of Thursday, Sept. 10:
- 266 Road at Highway 139
- County Road 200 at County Line
- 21 Road at entrance to Hunter Canyon
- 16 Road at V8/10 Road
- County (Roan Creek) Road 204 at 209 intersection
- End of V2/10 Road at BLM closure
- Q 5/10 Road at 18 Road
- Garvey Canyon Road
For more information, see Facebook.com/BLMColoradoFire.
The Pine Gulch Fire was sparked by lightning on Friday, July 31 and is located in Mesa and Garfield Counties in western Colorado. The fire is burning in remote, rough terrain, in pinyon, juniper, oak, and sage brush, according to the Grand Junction Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management.
> Read the latest report on the fire here.
PHOTOS: Pine Gulch Fire in western Colorado
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