Pine Gulch Fire grows to 23k+ acres, air quality warnings in place

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The Pine Gulch Fire burning north of Grand Junction. Credit: Bureau of Land Management

The Pine Gulch Fire is now covering more than 23,000 acres near Grand Junction and crews have increased the containment level to 7% as they look ahead to more dangerous fire weather.

Crews say over the fire has worked its way down the north side of Cow Ridge as they continue to work on fire lines constructed over the past few day. They will be working to protect structures in the Kimball Creek drainage area on Sunday and plan on fighting the fire on the front lines if it starts to come through that area.

Winds out of the southwest are expected to pick up throughout the day. If they align over the fire, crews believe the gusty conditions could create favorable conditions for the fire to grow in size. The state of Colorado has also issued an air quality advisory for people who live in Northern Mesa County and southwest Garfield County. They say people who experience heavy amounts of smoke in their neighborhood should remain indoors especially if they have health issues like heart problems or respiratory illness.

Evacuation orders are in place for people who live on CR202 and pre-evacuation orders are in place for all residences on CR 204, 207, 209, and Clear Creek Road in Garfield County. More information on evacuation orders is available at garfieldcounty.net.

According to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, lightning sparked the fire on July 31st. More than 450 crews are battling the blaze.

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