Pine Gulch fire grows to 125,108 acres — now 2nd largest in Colorado’s recorded history |

Pine Gulch fire grows to 125,108 acres — now 2nd largest in Colorado’s recorded history

Sam Tabachnik, Denver Post
Flames from the Pine Gulch Fire are seen in this screen capture from a video posted on Facebook by the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team.
Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team | Denver Post

The Pine Gulch fire exploded overnight, growing 42% in size as it now burns across 125,108 acres, or 195 square miles, outside Grand Junction — becoming the second-largest wildfire in Colorado’s recorded history.

Pre-evacuation orders have been issued to areas of County Road 205, Kimball Mountain Road and County Road 256 in between Kimball Mountain Road and Browns Point, officials said in Wednesday morning news release. Evacuations have been lifted for residents along County Road 204, who live below Brush Creek Road.

Strong outflow winds from a thunderstorm cell overnight caused winds up to 40 mph over several hours, creating “extreme and erratic fire behavior, causing significant growth,” officials said.

“Fire behavior specialists report that the combination of extremely dry fuels, low relative humidity, high temperatures and terrain-driven winds may continue to create extreme fire behavior that is resistant to suppression efforts,” fire officials said. “There is potential for similar thunderstorm cells to pass over the fire area this afternoon and into the night.”

Wednesday will bring more heat and dry weather, with high in the low 90s and gusts up to 16 miles per hour. Lightning is possible — with no precipitation — and strong gusts could contribute to more unpredictable fire behavior, officials said.

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