GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KDVR) — The Pine Gulch Fire burning north of Grand Junction has grown to 69,135 acres as of Thursday night, making it one of the largest wildfires ever recorded in Colorado.
Depending on one’s definition, Pine Gulch now ranks fifth or sixth in terms of acreage. Colorado’s largest wildfire ever was the Hayman Fire in 2002, which scorched more than 137,000 acres.
The Pine Gulch fire is burning about 18 miles north of Grand Junction in Mesa and Garfield counties. It started July 31 and was caused by lightning.
Nearly 800 people are fighting the fire. It is currently 7% contained.
Crews are dealing with extremely challenging firefighting conditions.
“Critically dry fuels, severe drought conditions, critical fire weather creating extreme fire behavior are creating a high resistance to control,” officials said in an update.
More hot temperatures and low humidity are expected Friday.
On Sunday night, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation order for residents on Roan Creek Road, Clear Creek Road, Carr Creek Road and Brush Creek Road.
People who live on Garfield County Road 202 are also under an evacuation order.