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Pine Gulch Fire becomes largest wildfire in Colorado history

Pine Gulch Fire becomes largest wildfire in Colorado history
Posted at 9:29 AM, Aug 28, 2020

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The Pine Gulch Fire in Colorado broke a record Thursday evening, becoming the largest wildfire on record in the state.

The blaze is now 139,006 acres in size and 77% contained, according to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team.

Pine Gulch Fire progression map Aug 28 2020

The state's 10 largest fires in history, ranked by acreage, are:

1. Pine Gulch Fire (2020): 139,006 acres
2. Hayman Fire (2002): 137,760 acres
3. Spring Fire (2018): 108,045 acres
4. High Park Fire (2012): 87,284 acres
5. Missionary Ridge Fire (2002): 72,962 acres
6. 416 Fire (2018): 54,000 acres
7. Bridger Fire (2008): 45,800 acres
8. Last Chance Fire (2012): 45,000 acres
9. Bear Springs/Callie Marie fires (2011): 44,662 acres
10. 117 Fire (2018): 42,795 acres

Note: The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center said the West Fork Complex fire, which burned a total of 109,632 acres in 2013, is not included on this list since it involved three separate fires.

Before Thursday night, the Hayman Fire was the largest wildfire on record in the state. That fire, which broke out in 2002, burned 137,760 acres north of Lake George, and included Park, Jefferson, Douglas and Teller Counties. According to the Pike and San Isabel National Forests, it was one of the most severe wildfires in respect to burn intensity. It grew rapidly and destroyed 600 structures in its path, including 133 residences, one commercial building and 466 outbuildings. The fire was caused by humans and was contained and and controlled by the end of July 2002.

The Pine Gulch Fire started on July 31 about 18 miles north of Grand Junction. It was sparked by lightning.

Several areas are under evacuation and pre-evacuation orders as a result of the wildfire. In addition to evacuations, there are road closures around the fire as well.

This story was originally published by Stephanie Butzer at KMGH.