More homes on evacuation notice ahead of rapidly progressing western Colorado wildfire |

More homes on evacuation notice ahead of rapidly progressing western Colorado wildfire

Pine Gulch Fire area north of Grand Junction.
Inciweb map screenshot

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — Residents living near a wildfire burning on the Mesa-Garfield county line north of Grand Junction have been told to be ready to evacuate as the blaze expands.

The Pine Gulch fire is burning in remote, rough terrain north of Grand Junction and had grown to more than 37 square miles (21,000+ acres) by Sunday, fire officials reported. The fire was reported to be 7% contained as of midday Sunday.

A small number of homes in the area were evacuated Saturday and more residents were put on notice Saturday night that they could have to leave immediately if the fire approaches.

The fire is burning about 18 miles north of Grand Junction. It was started more than a week ago by lightning in remote and rough terrain in Mesa and Garfield counties.

Nearly 500 people are fighting the fire, including personnel from Garfield County fire departments, and authorities expected the blaze to spread at moderate to high rates on Sunday.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a 24-hour air quality warning for northern Mesa County and southwestern Garfield County Sunday morning, warning that the areas would see moderate and heavy smoke. Residents who experience heavy smoke in their neighborhoods should stay inside, CDPHE advises.

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