GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo.- The Pine Gulch Fire burning in Mesa and Garfield Counties has now burned about 135,000 acres, and is now 47% contained. KREX 5/Fox 4 got an exclusive look at the contained area along the eastern portion of the fire.
Along Roan Creek Road in De Beque, skies are relatively clear, but a vast area once ablaze in the Pine Gulch Fire can be seen for miles.
“It’s in a good place, all the work had been done to secure it,” said Jacob Welsh of the eastern portion of the Pine Gulch Fire. Welsh is a spokesperson with the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, the agency in charge of the firefighting effort.”We’ve built fire lines to prevent it from spreading.”
While the eastern portion of the fire is contained, the western and southern portions of the fire are still posing a challenge for firefighters. The map below outlines which areas are contained, and which areas are still burning.
The evacuations right now for residents in these areas are as follows. This information is from the latest news release from the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team: Garfield County: 4A Ridge Road (256), Salt Wash (205), King Road (258), Clear Creek Road (211), Carr Creek Road (207), Kimball Creek Road (202). A pre-evacuation order is in effect for all residents of Garfield County west of CO-139 to the Utah border, and any formerly evacuated residents remain in pre-evacuation. There are currently no evacuations or pre-evacuations in Mesa County.
The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team is optimistic about the contained area’s security.
“If you look at where it’s burned very hot and thoroughly there is no fuel left for it to continue burning,” Welsh said. “We feel as fire managers it’s not going to move beyond that containment line.”
Welsh also says, evaluation will now begin on what the long term environmental impacts of the Pine Gulch Fire in this area might be. Specifically how to prevent loss of soil and mudslides.
“After the fire has come through we have steps in place to mitigate erosion,” Welsh said. “Because with all the vegetation gone, we tend to get runoff, especially when it rains. “