Colorado: Pine Ridge Fire fully contained

No new fires reported

A slurry drop at the Pine Ridge Fire. Photo courtesy Brian Borjon/InciWeb.

Firing operations help firefighters contain the Pine Ridge Fire along one of its boundaries. Photo courtesy

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite facing windy conditions, firefighting crews were able to fully contain the Pine Ridge Fire that burned northeast of Grand Junction for eight days, at one point forcing the evacuation of an entire town as the flames raced toward De Beque.

Incident commander Bill Hahnenberg declared the fire contained at about 6 p.m. on July 4. The fire burned across 13,920 acres in dry brush and scattered stands of piñon pines. At times, the fire burned within sight of the Colorado River and required the intermittent closure of I-70. Continue reading

Pine Ridge Fire 35 percent contained

Terrain, access and concern about resources challenge firefighters

Pine Ridge Fire burning near I-70 in De Beque Canyon. Photo courtesy De Beque Fire Protection District. Click the pic to see the entire Pine Ridge gallery at

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Pine Ridge Fire, in Mesa County, Colorado, has grown to more than 13,000 acres but is also more than a third contained, with continued concerns about potential threats to the town of De Beque and the I-70 corridor.

Fire behavior contineus to be extreme in some sectors, with torching, backing and more fire in fuel islands remaining on the fire’s interior.

Fire officials said key factors, including winds and fuel moisture, combined, indicate  there is a high potential for extreme fire behavior, intensity, and growth. With a shift in the wind, firefighters had to hold the line on the north, northeast and southeast flanks.

The Union Pacific Railroad is helping to deliver water to remote areas of the fire by rail and a team of resource advisors is working with fire managers because of concerns about  oil and gas well locations, cultural resources, threatened and endangered species, and the wild horse range.

Pine Ridge Fire

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Pine Ridge Fire stops at the Colorado River

West Slope blaze burns at least 12,000 acres

The Pine Ridge Fire ran fast until it encountered I-70 and the Colorado River, guarded by a line of firefighters.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —The lightning-sparked Pine Ridge Fire raced all the way to I-70 and the Colorado River Friday as residents of the greenbelt along the river watched anxiously.

But helped by the weather, as well as air support from of a couple of Canadian air tankers, firefighters were able to knock the fire down a couple of notches, declaring it 10 percent contained by the end of the day.

According to the most recent official estimates, the fire had burned across a footprint of at least 12,000 acres as of Friday morning, though that acreage is likely to grow after an evening overflight to collect heat data with infrared sensors. A total of four air tankers provided support today. Continue reading

Colorado: Fast-moving Pine Ridge Fire cuts off I-70, threatens multiple structures and homes near Palisade

BLM says multiple structures threatened

*Read: Colorado Western Slope firefighting resources stretched

The Pine Ridge Fire roars down the mesa and toward the Colorado River in this June 28 photo via the BLM.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The explosive Pine Ridge Fire, burning northeast of Grand Junction, has run down to the edge of the Colorado River and Interstate 70.

The interstate is closed in both directions east of Palisade, but the good news is that firefighters were able to successfully set a backfire to protect De Beque.

In a morning announcement, the BLM said the fast-moving fire threatens multiple structures. About 50 people have been evacuated from the area, according to the BLM. Continue reading

Pine Ridge fire at 10,000 acres, races toward De Beque

Large West Slope fire burning near active gas wells

*Read: Colorado Western Slope firefighting resources stretched

Pine Ridge Fire, Mesa County, Colorado.

Pine Ridge Fire, Mesa County, Colorado.

The Pine Ridge Fire burns down off the mesa toward I-70. Photo courtesy BLM.

An aerial view of the Pine Ridge Fire. Photo courtesy BLM.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Pine Ridge Fire, burning about 10 miles northeast of Grand Junction, grew rapidly Thursday, reaching an estimated 10,000 acres in size and threatening the town of De Beque, according to a late-evening update at

Rapid growth of the fire in multiple directions prompted the Mesa County Sheriff to issue evacuation orders for for the area east of I-70, west of 45 1/2 Road, and south of U Road. An evacuation center is set up at the Palisades High School.

A Type 1 federal management team is slated to arrive at the fire Friday. According to the Bureau of Land Management, there are at least 35 active gas wells within a few miles of the fire, which has already burned past one well pad.

All of the wells in the affected area have been shut down.

The lightning-sparked fire is burning in dry pinon-juniper woodlands and sage scrub. Fire behavior is characterized as extreme, and firefighting efforts are aimed at trying to steer the fire away from developed areas. The fire is nearing I-70, prompting a closure of the highway. Several spotfires may have already been started south of I-70.

Read more about the potential dangers of wildfires in gas-well areas in this Summit Voice story.

Colorado: Pine Ridge Fire burning near 35 gas wells

Winds fanning western Colorado blaze; threatened wells have been shut down

Pine Ridge Fire, Mesa County, Colorado.

June 28, 2012 map of Pine Ridge Fire, Mesa County, Colorado.

June 28, 2012 map of Pine Ridge Fire, Mesa County, Colorado.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal officials said there are 35 active gas and oil wells within about five miles of the 1,500-acre Pine Ridge Fire in Mesa County, and that the fire has already burned past one well.

Fighting wildfires in an area with oil and gas development adds complexity and raises special safety issues, said BLM spokesman David Boyd.

“We know who the operators are and we call them right away,” Boyd said, explaining that the wells can be turned of from remote locations, and the wells near the Pine Ridge Fire have been shut down.

Visit the Pine Ridge web page for updates. On Twitter, info on the fire is under the #PineRidgeFire hashtag. Continue reading

Colorado: Pine Ridge Fire grows to 700 acres

Canadian air tanker leads aerial attack; fire may be within 1 mile of gas drilling operations

The Pine Ridge Fire in Mesa County. Map courtesy

By Summit County

SUMMIT COUNTY —The Pine Ridge Fire, burning in Mesa County, quickly grew to 700 acres in just a few hours and is threatening seven structures, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

The fire is burning mostly on BLM land about 10 miles northeast of Grand Junction and reportedly was lightning-caused. The area is under a red flag warning for extreme fire danger Thursday.

Based on the GPS coordinates of the fire posted at InciWeb, the fire is burning within one mile of gas wells, according to SkyTruth. At least one regional incident commander with the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit said the fire may be burning in the vicinity of some gas drilling operations. More info at the SkyTruth blog. Continue reading


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