FRUITA, CO — Thanks to a significant infusion of personnel, equipment, and helicopters, the fire crews currently fighting the Pine Gulch wildfire have been successful at limiting the fire’s spread, minimizing damage, and expanding more roads and operations in the area. A small chance of thunderstorms later today may bring in some wind gusts that could result in erratic fire behavior. In better news, the coming days will also see a small chance of thunderstorms from Monday evening through Thursday. Pray for rain, dear readers.
The wildfire’s massive footprint is now at about 129,715 acres, with 19% containment. 952 personnel are now on the ground. Pine Gulch is slowly approaching the record achieved by the 2002 Hayman Fire, which reached about 138,000 acres.
Mesa and Garfield Counties will continue to experience poor air quality today and this evening, with heavy smoke widespread throughout the valley. The Air Quality Index remains (orange dots in the illustration below, courtesy of the US Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program) at USG (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) today, so people with certain health conditions should reduce outdoor exposure and activity as much as possible. That includes household pets.
The full reports from the Rocky Mountain Incident Team are below.