GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4)- Firefighters working the Pine Ridge Fire focused on keeping the fire from spreading across Interstate 70 on Friday.
Fire crews tried to keep the fire west of I-70 and out of developed areas. The interstate is open but intermittent closures were expected Friday due to firefighting activity and smoke.
The fire prompted evacuation of homes in the southern part of De Beque.
Traffic has been diverted around I-70 between mile marker 62 and 49 but this detour could also be closed if the fire crosses I-70 or the smoke becomes an issue.
The Pine Ridge Fire was sparked by lightning on Wednesday, It is estimated at 12,000 acres with five percent containment. Two helicopters are supporting firefighters today and four air tankers are available.
Firefighters worked into the night last night burning out a fireline on the northeast side of the fire to help protect the Town of De Beque. They are continuing to secure that line today.
The evacuation on the southeast side of De Beque remains in place (south of U Road, west of 45.5 Road and east of I-70).
Officials urge homeowners to not go home until they’re alerted that it’s safe–residents will be notified when the evacuation is lifted. Residents in the area should be ready for possible additional evacuations.
About 35 oil and gas wells are in the affected area of the fire. The operators have shut-in the wells, which means they are not producing oil and gas.
A Type 1 Incident Management Team will assume command of the fire Saturday morning.