Pine Gulch Fire grows to 20,000 acres, “extreme fire behavior” could continue

Scorching hot temperatures, low humidity and gusty afternoon winds Friday expanded the Pine Gulch fire past 20,000 acres, as fire officials warn that Saturday could bring more extreme fire behavior.

The fire, burning 18 miles north of Grand Junction since July 31, sits at 0% containment. Friday’s conditions helped the fire outpace crews, as the flames moved down Forshay Gulch on the north side of Horse Mountain to Mesa County Road 200, the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black said in a news release.

The fire’s expansion caused officials to close the road at the Mesa-Garfield county line to prevent nonessential traffic from driving through the fire area. No evacuations have been ordered.

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Humidity on Saturday will be low again, with temperatures in the mid- to high 80s, and winds are expected to gust up to 20 mph, fire officials said.

“If winds and slope align over the fire, there is a possibility for extreme fire behavior again today,” fire officials said.

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