MESA COUNTY, Colo. — The Pine Gulch Fire on the Western Slope has grown to almost 30,000 acres and forced evacuations in the area.
Fire officials said the fire, which is burning about 18 miles north of Grand Junction, was active before dawn on Sunday and due to dry conditions and winds, it grew and pushed northeast throughout the day. It's now estimated at 29,425 acres and is 7% contained, according to the Rocky Mountain Area Type 2 Incident Management Team.
By late Sunday and early Monday, residents along County Road 204/Road Creek Road, County Road 211/Clear Creek Road, County Road 207/Carr Creek Road and County Road 209/Brush Creek Road were being evacuated after the blaze crossed County Road 202 late Sunday afternoon.
The fire on the north side of County Road 202 grew to about 300 acres on the south face of Kimball Mountain. Firefighters are working to contain the blaze that jumped the road, according to the Rocky Mountain Area Type 2 Incident Management Team.
Helicopters and airtankers are assisting firefighters during the day.
The fire was sparked by lightning on July 31 around 5:15 p.m. It is mostly burning through juniper and oak trees, as well as sagebrush, officials said.
Smoke from the fire has affected air quality in the region and on the Front Range.