(970) 244-3500

Pine Gulch Information

For more information on the Pine Gulch Fire click here or call 970-628-5622.

Interactive Map

To view an interactive map of the Pine Gulch Fire click here.

Fire Restrictions

Mesa County is currently under No Fire Restrictions. Learn more.

Pine Gulch Fire

Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER)

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team for the Pine Gulch Fire is currently working with the Fire Management Team and local agencies to help rapidly determine whether the post-fire effects constitute urgent threats to human life, safety, property, or critical natural and cultural resources and to produce an integrated plan to respond to those threats.  Work has begun to analyze data and develop projection models and local agencies will begin working with landowners and stakeholders on findings.

BAER is a federal program that addresses post-fire effects on public lands. Wildfires can cause complex ecological problems, from severe loss of vegetation and soil erosion to a decrease in water quality, and flash flooding. The BAER program addresses post-fire emergency stabilization of these and other post-wildfire problems, in order to protect public safety and prevent further degradation of the landscapes.

The objective of the BAER program is to determine the need for and to prescribe and implement emergency treatments on federal lands to minimize threats to life and property resulting from the effects of a fire or to stabilize and prevent unacceptable degradation to natural and cultural resources. During the assessment stage, the BAER process may identify values at risk on private of other jurisdiction lands, those issues will be communicated to the cooperators. Severely burned areas, steep slopes, places where water runoff will be excessive, fragile slopes above homes, businesses, municipal water supplies, and other valuable facilities are focus areas.

Find more information about BAER Teams visit https://www.nifc.gov/BAER/

After a Wildfire

Flooding After a Fire

Flash floods after wildfires can occur within minutes after the onset of a rainstorm. Even areas that are not traditionally flood-prone are at risk, due to changes to the landscape caused by fire. Flood risk remains a significant risk for up to five years after a wildfire.  Residents need to protect their homes and assets with flood insurance now—before a weather event occurs and it’s too late.

 

Prepare now

Gather supplies in case of a storm, strengthen your home against damage, and review your insurance coverages.

 

Get Flood Insurance Now

Only flood insurance covers flood damage. Most standard homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage. Remember: it typically takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to go into effect, so get your policy now.  Learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program.

Get Flood Insurance Information

 

Plan ahead

Plan evacuation routes. Keep important papers in a safe, waterproof place. Conduct a home inventory, itemize, and take pictures of possessions.

How Flooding Occurs

Debris flows often happen in areas where excessive rain causes soil to become so saturated it turns into very runny mud. The mud then races downhill, picking up debris such as ash, fallen branches, tree trunks, and rocks as it goes. Debris flows can bury homes under piles of mud and debris. Know the risks of the area where you live, so you can prepare your family and home before heavy rains threaten your area  

 

Sign Up for Emergency Alerts

Mesa County uses an Emergency Notification System to provide essential information quickly during an emergency. Landlines are automatically signed up for the Emergency Notification System, however, cell phone users need to sign up.

To get an alert sent to your cell phone sign up here. 

 

 

Stay Informed

Follow the National Weather Service

Get a NOAA Weather Radio

Resources

Flood Watch versus Flood Warning

 

 

Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! 

A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood-prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.

 

Flood Warning: Take Action! 

A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

 

Flood Watch: Be Prepared: 

A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.

 

Flood Advisory: Be Aware:

 A Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

Learn more at https://www.weather.gov/safety/flood

Debris Flow Danger

In areas where wildfires have occurred, vegetation may have been burned away and soil properties may have been altered, leaving behind bare ground that tends to repel water. This is called a burn scar. When rain falls over a burn scar, the ground is unable to absorb the moisture, leaving the water to collect or run across the surface of the ground towards the lowest point. 

Without vegetation to hold the soil in place, flooding can produce mud and debris flows. When normally dry soil becomes overly saturated, it can reach a point where it turns to a liquid state and flows downhill, essentially becoming a river of mud. Mud and debris flows can destroy homes, wash out bridges and roadways, and knock down trees. They can also deposit large amounts of mud and other debris on previously clear surfaces, damaging or burying everything in their path. Areas where ground cover has recently changed dramatically, such as an area impacted by a wildfire, can be at a higher risk for mudflows.

What is a debris flow?

Fast-moving, deadly landslides consisting of loose mud, sand, soil, rock, water, and air.

What causes a debris flow?

Most common during intense rain after wildfires. It does not need a long rain or a saturated slope.

Debris Flow Warning Signs

  • Rushing water and mud
  • Unusual sounds including cracking, breaking, roaring, or a freight train

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepare now

Gather supplies in case of a storm, strengthen your home against damage, and review your insurance coverages.

 

Get Flood Insurance Now

Only flood insurance covers flood damage. Most standard homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage. Remember: it typically takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to go into effect, so get your policy now.  Learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program.

Get Flood Insurance Information

 

Plan ahead

Plan evacuation routes. Keep important papers in a safe, waterproof place. Conduct a home inventory, itemize, and take pictures of possessions.

Learn more at https://www.weather.gov/safety/flood

Pine Gulch Fire Facts: 139,007 acres 

The Pine Gulch Fire was started by a lightning strike on July 31, 2020, approximately 18 miles north of Grand Junction, Colorado. Initial Attack resources were unable to corral this remote wildfire as it spread rapidly through grass, sage, pinyon-juniper, and fir.  

The combination of drought-stressed vegetation, unseasonably hot weather, and steep terrain led to weeks of active burning. Smoke columns were often visible from Grand Junction and the surrounding area as the wildfire exhibited extreme fire behavior.  During the night of August 18, the fire grew quickly due to thunderstorm winds up to 40 mph for a three to four hour period.  As a result, the fire increased by more than 30,000 acres that night.

Firefighters worked to protect homes and outbuildings using a combination of bulldozers and hand crews to build firelines. Road systems were used as control lines where crews initiated firing operations to slow the fire spread. 

As of August 27, 2020 the Pine Gulch Fire became the largest wildfire in Colorado State history, surpassing the Hayman Fire that burned near Colorado Springs in the summer of 2002. The fire burned in both Mesa and Garfield Counties and shutdown Hwy 139 for several days. By the year's end, the Pine Gulch Fire was surpassed by the Cameron Peak (208,913 acres) and East Troublesome Fires 193,812 acres).

Control of the fire returned to local agencies on September 12, 2020, to complete suppression repair of areas damaged by actions taken to contain the fire, such as retardant drops and building firelines.

The Pine Gulch Fire reached 100% containment on September, 23, 2020. Fire crews also completed the majority of the suppression repair. 

For the latest information on the Pine Gulch Fire click here or call 970-628-5622.

View Pine Gulch Fire Map

To view previous virtual public meetings please visit Facebook, @PineGulchFireCO 

Evacuations:

There are currently no evacuations or pre-evacuations for residents of Mesa County. 

Closures:

BLM Area Closure

The Bureau of Land Management area closure has been reduced to lands managed by the agency in the fire perimeter only. Garvey Canyon Road, Coal Gulch Road and 21 Road are open only to the point at which they meet the fire’s edge. Areas beyond them in the fire perimeter are closed. There is no public road access to Barrel Springs Canyon.

Prohibited Acts:

  1. You must not enter or use BLM lands described in this order.
  2. You must not use the roads or trails in the area described in this order.

For more information click here.

Open Areas:

  • County Road 256 east of Douglas Pass
  • Coal Canyon
  • Southshale Ridge and Corcoran Peak
  • Public Lands North of Roan Creek (Garfield County 204)
  • Mount Garfield hiking trail to foot travel
  • North Fruita Desert (18 Road) campground and bike trails, including the Sarlaac Trail.
  • Winter Flats Road, (Mesa County V 2/10 Road)
  • Brush Creek and Carr Creek Roads (Garfield County 209 and 207)

 

The Edge Loop is open to the fire edge, but the Bureau of Land Management recommends users turn around at the mouth of Lippan Wash.

Sign up for Emergency Alerts

Mesa County uses an Emergency Notification System to provide essential information quickly during an emergency. Landlines are automatically signed up for the Emergency Notification System, however, cell phone users need to sign up.

To get an alert sent to your cell phone sign up here. 

Health and Safety information

Wildfire Ash

Ash has been deposited on indoor and outdoor surfaces in areas near the recent wildfire. Ash from forest fires is relatively nontoxic and is similar to ash that might be found in your fireplace; however, all ash contains small amounts of cancer-causing chemicals.

Fire ash may also irritate the skin, especially to those with sensitive skin. If ash is inhaled, it can be irritating to the nose and throat and may cause coughing. Exposure to ash in the air can also trigger asthmatic attacks.

To avoid possible health issues:

  • Do not allow children to play in the burn debris or ash areas.
  • Wash ash from toys before allowing children to play with them.
  • Wash ash off of household pets.
  • Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants when cleaning ash, and avoid skin contact. If ash does get on your skin, wash it off as soon as possible.
  • If you have a vegetable garden or fruit trees, wash the fruit or vegetables thoroughly before eating them.
  • Do not consume any food, beverages, or medication that has been exposed to burn debris or ash.
  • Clean all utensils, glasses, and dishware before use by:
    • Washing them in a strong detergent solution and then soaking them in a bleach solution of one teaspoon of bleach per quart of water for 15 minutes, or
    • Using the long dishwasher wash cycle as long as the dishwasher is debris-free, heats water to at least 140 ̊F, and has a heated drying cycle.

Clean up:

Avoid stirring up or sifting through ash as much as you can. Avoid actions that kick ash particles up into the air, such as dry sweeping. Before sweeping indoor and outdoor hard surfaces, mist them with water to keep the dust down. Follow with wet mopping. Use a damp cloth or wet mop on lightly dusted areas. When you wet down ash, use as little water as you can.

  • Do not use shop vacuums and other non-HEPA filter vacuums, as they do not filter out small particles and can blow particles into the air where they can be breathed in. HEPA filter vacuums can be used, if available.
  • Well-fitting dust masks may provide some protection during cleanup. Masks rated N-95 or P-100 are more effective than simpler dust or surgical masks in blocking particles from ash. In general, many ash particles are larger than those found in smoke; thus, wearing a dust mask can significantly reduce (but not completely eliminate) the number of particles that are inhaled.
  • In most cases, gently sweeping indoor and outdoor hard surfaces followed by wet mopping is the best way to clean up ash residue. A damp cloth or wet mop may be all that is needed on lightly dusted areas.
  • Avoid washing ash into storm drains whenever possible.
  • Collected ash may be disposed of in the regular trash. Ash may be stored in plastic bags or other containers to help prevent it from being disturbed.

Download a safety fact sheet from the EPA

Air Quality

Continued widespread visible smoke from the Pine Gulch fire is impacting Mesa County. Wildfire smoke can irritate your lungs, cause inflammation, affect your immune system, and make you more susceptible to lung infections, including COVID-19.

  • If you begin to notice health effects from smoke, you are encouraged to take action to protect yourself including reducing prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.

 A smoke outlook by city is available here.

Who is at risk

Some people are more at risk of harmful health effects from wildfire smoke than others, including:

  • Children less than 18 years old
  • Adults aged 65 years or older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with chronic health conditions such as heart or lung disease, asthma, and diabetes
  • Outdoor workers
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness or those who have limited access to medical care
  • People who are immunocompromised or taking drugs that suppress the immune system. 

 

Strategies to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Limit outdoor exercise or choose lower-intensity activities.
  • Keep doors and windows tightly closed to decrease the amount of smoke that could enter.
  • Create a clean room, with filtered air at home.
  • Use air conditioners, fans, and window shades to keep your indoor air space cool.
    • Evaporative coolers, known as “swamp coolers” should be turned off during periods of heavy smoke unless there is a heat emergency. These coolers rely on bringing outside air into the home and won’t cool effectively if the home is sealed up so air can be released. 
  • Use caution while inside your vehicle.
    • Keep windows and vents closed.
    • Turn the air conditioning to “recirculate” mode.
  • Avoid activities that create smoke or other air pollutants to decrease indoor particle levels including:
    • Smoking cigarettes, pipes, and cigars.
    • Spraying aerosol products.
    • Frying or broiling food.
    • Burning candles or incense. 
    • Vacuuming, unless you use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Preparation is key:

  • Recommendations, if you are at risk for smoke exposure, include maintaining nonperishable groceries not requiring cooking. 
  • People with chronic diseases should check with their health care provider about precautions ahead of smoke events and have an adequate supply of medication available.
  • People who experience asthma should have a written asthma action plan.

Learn more from Mesa County Public Health. 

How to Prepare for a Wildfire

Prepping Your Home

There is no immediate danger to your home, family, or business. Now is the time to get ready. Refine your evacuation plans.

  • Be Ready: Create and maintain defensible space and harden your home against flying embers.
  • Get Set: Prepare your family and home ahead of time for the possibility of having to evacuate. Ensure you have a plan of what to take and where to go – evacuation plans will be different this year due to COVID-19. Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you would be able to stay with them, should the need arise. If you do need to evacuate and plan to stay with friends or relatives, ask first if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have people in their home at higher risk for serious illness. If that is the case, make other arrangements. Check with hotels, motels, and campgrounds to learn if they are open.
  • Be Ready to GO!: When wildfire strikes, go early for your safety. Take the evacuation steps necessary to give your family and home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.

 

Create Your Defensible Space

Create and maintain 100 feet of Defensible Space around your home.

Defensible space is the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it helps protect your home from catching fire—either from direct flame contact or radiant heat. 

Download the Defensible Space flyer for an action checklist.

Learn more

 

Harden Your Home

Taking the necessary measures to harden (prepare) your home can help increase its chance of survival when wildfire strikes. Use ember-resistant building materials to protect your home. Learn about more ways you can harden your home and make it more fire-resistant here.

 

 

Create your own emergency supply kit

Put together your emergency supply kit long before a wildfire or other disaster occurs and keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate. 

Learn more here.

 

Click here for another resource for preparing your home for a wildfire.

Information provided by www.readyforwildfire.org

 

**There are no pre-evacuation orders currently in Mesa County****

When a pre-evacuation order is issued, follow these checklists (if time allows) to give your home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.

Home Evacuation Checklist – How to Prepare for Evacuation:

Inside the House

  • Have your Emergency Supply Kit/Evacuation Bag ready to go
  • Ensure a Wildfire Action Plan is prepared ahead of time
  • Make sure you know your community’s emergency response plan and have a plan on where to go when it is time to evacuate, and best routes for leaving your location.
  • Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.
  • Remove flammable window shades, curtains and close metal shutters.
  • Remove lightweight curtains.
  • Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
  • Shut off gas at the meter; turn off pilot lights.
  • Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.
  • Shut off the air conditioning.

Outside

  • Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, trash cans, etc.) or place them in your pool.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures.
  • Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters. Fill water buckets and place them around the house.
  • Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running, they can affect critical water pressure.
  • Leave exterior lights on so your home is visible to firefighters in the smoke or darkness of night.
  • Put your Emergency Supply Kit in your vehicle.
  • Back your car into the driveway with vehicle loaded and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you.
  • Have a ladder available and place it at the corner of the house for firefighters to quickly access your roof.
  • Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
  • Patrol your property and monitor the fire situation. Don’t wait for an evacuation order if you feel threatened.
  • Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave.

Animals

  • Locate your pets and keep them nearby.
  • Prepare farm animals for transport and think about moving them to a safe location early.
  • If you need assistance evacuating or sheltering livestock please call (970) 244-1835

Learn more

 

Information provided by www.readyforwildfire.org

**There are no evacuation orders currently in Mesa County****

When an evacuation order is issued, please leave the area immediately. If you need assistance evacuating, call 911.

Evacuation: What to Take and Do:

  1. Review your Evacuation Plan Checklist.
  2. Ensure your Emergency Supply Kit is in your vehicle.
  3. Cover-up to protect against heat and flying embers. Wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, heavy shoes/boots, cap, dry bandanna for face cover, goggles or glasses. 100% cotton is preferable.
  4. Locate your pets and take them with you.

If you need assistance evacuating or sheltering livestock please call (970) 244-1835

 

When to Evacuate

Leave as soon as an evacuation order is issued. Evacuating the area as soon as possible also helps firefighters keep roads clear of congestion, and lets them move more freely to do their job. In an intense wildfire, they will not have time to knock on every door. If you are advised to leave, don’t hesitate!

  • Officials will determine the areas to be evacuated and escape routes to use depending upon the fire’s location, behavior, winds, terrain, etc.
  • You will be advised of potential evacuations as early as possible. You must take the initiative to stay informed and aware. Listen to your radio/TV for announcements from law enforcement and emergency personnel.
  • You may be directed to temporary assembly areas to await transfer to a safe location.

All evacuation instructions provided by officials should be followed immediately for your safety.

Do not return to your home until it is determined to be safe. Notification that it is safe to return home will be given as soon as possible considering safety and accessibility.

When You Return Home:

  • Be alert for downed power lines and other hazards.
  • Check propane tanks, regulators, and lines before turning gas on.
  • Check your residence carefully for hidden embers or smoldering fires.

 

Information provided by www.readyforwildfire.org

Returning Home: Electricity Safety After a Wildfire 

 

Step 1: Inspect your Meter

  • Locate your power meter.
  • Take a look at your meter... Are numbers being displayed on the digital screen to your meter? If so, your meter is working, and power has been restored to your home.
  • If not, report an outage using the SmartHub mobile app or contact Grand Valley Power at (970) 242-0040 or Xcel Energy at (800) 895-1999 to report an outage.
  • If your digital meter is displaying numbers and the power in your home is still off, please proceed to step two.

 

Step 2: Reset Your Breaker Box

  • SAFETY TIP: Be sure that your hands are free of water and you're positioned on a dry surface before resetting your breakers.
  • Bring a flashlight with you to help clearly read the panel and switch labels, then open the breaker box. Each circuit breaker has three positions: on, off, and center.
  • If the switch is in the center position, the breaker has been tripped and must be reset.
  • You can reset your breaker by first shifting the switch from the center position to off. Then, move the switch from the off position to on.
  • Wait a moment to see if the switch stays in position. If so, powered has been restored to the affected room. If the switch moves, this indicates that a serious electrical problem could be present. Contact your local electrician for assistance.

 

Step 3: Contact Your Power Company

  •  If you have any issues or concerns regarding your electric service, please contact Grand Valley Power by calling (970) 242-0040 or Xcel Energy at  (800) 895-1999.
  • For outage updates and information on the estimated time of restoration, please visit Grand Valley Power or Xcel Energy. 

Learn more at www.gvp.org/outagesafety

Frequently Asked Questions

While the Pine Gulch Fire Team appreciates the generosity of the community, the firefighters are well taken care of. They are currently in remote areas and will be "spiking out" in those areas to reduce exposure to large groups of people and exposure to the community. They are prepared to be self-sufficient for several days after they arrive and any additional supplies will be taken care of by the fire team's great logistics staff. The firefighters have plenty of food, water, sports drinks, snacks, and hygiene supplies. No monetary or supply donations are needed.

Show your support through posters around town, signs supporting firefighters, and comments on the Pine Gulch Fire Facebook page.

You can also help firefighters by doing your part to prevent any new fires. Mesa County is currently under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions because of our high fire danger. To learn more click here.

Thank you for your willingness to support firefighters and the efforts on the Pine Gulch Fire.  

The Bureau of Land Management has implemented an area closure for the fire perimeter. The area is closed because of the hazards associated with the burn scar.

Garvey Canyon Road, Coal Gulch Road and 21 Road are open only to the point at which they meet the fire’s edge. Areas beyond them in the fire perimeter are closed. There is no public road access to Barrel Springs Canyon.

Prohibited Acts:

  1. You must not enter or use BLM lands described in this order.
  2. You must not use the roads or trails in the area described in this order.

For more information about the closure click here.

 

Burn Scar Hazards

Steep terrain combined with a severe burn scar and light precipitation can result in flash flooding within minutes of precipitation beginning.  If you hunter near the burn scar, be mindful of the weather and have a plan to move to higher ground should flooding occur.

 

For more hunting information visit Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

CSU Extension Mesa office is helping people under evacuation orders with animal evacuations and housing. 

Please call 970-244-1835 for help with moving and housing (sheltering) animals.

***Note: There are currently no evacuation orders for Mesa County***

CSU Extension Mesa office is helping people under evacuation orders with animal evacuations and housing. 

If you want to help haul or house (shelter), please fill out this form.

If you have any questions, please call 970-244-1835.

***Note: There are currently no evacuation orders for Mesa County***

You can use this interactive map to measure exactly how far the burn scar is from you.

***Note: There are currently no evacuation orders for Mesa County***

Many different species of wildlife make their home in and around the area of the Pine Gulch Fire. There are elk, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, turkey, mountain lion, bobcat, bear and several different species of birds and reptiles. There is also a wild horse herd.

A herd of about 160 wild horses lives in the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range, where they roam over 36,000 acres. The Pine Gulch Fire is about eight miles north of the Range and is moving to the north and east. The fire is not threatening or endangering the herd.

Fire is a natural part of the ecosystem and aids in the regeneration of vegetation, which in turn helps provide future feed for wild horses and wildlife.

During wildfire suppression efforts, people should avoid visiting the Horse Range and honor all road closures to help support firefighters. If the fire should become a threat to the wild horse herd, the Bureau of Land Management will develop plans to reduce impacts on the herd.