GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4)- Firefighters working the Pine Ridge Fire are encountering some challenges in the fire fight.
The fire has grown to 12,000 acres and is 10 percent contained. Fire crews doubled their containment overnight and the fire is halted at the Colorado River.
The fire’s growth was slowed significantly on Friday. Exact figures on how much the fire has grown will not be available until Saturday night when crews conduct infrared analysis.
“The weather’s on our side today and we’re making good progress,” said Operation Section Chief Russ Long.
Three unoccupied tents and campers were destroyed when the fire crossed Mustang Ranch Thursday. Cost of the lost structures is unknown. The area is unsafe for owners of those structures to return at this time.
The Pine Ridge Fire started on top of the Bookcliff Mesa Wednesday after a lightning strike.
High winds spread the flames for miles to the east on Thursday. When the fire was spreading rapidly, fire crews worked to keep the fire west of I-70 and out of developed areas. The interstate was closed for several hours due to firefighting activity and smoke.
Helicopters made water drops on the fire after filling up their buckets in the Colorado River.
Inside the fire zone there are concerns with 35 oil and gas wells.
“We had all the operators go in and shut off the wells. The fortunate thing is the wells are on pads, which in its own way, is defensible space, so that’s less of a threat now,” said U.S. Forest Service Sky Sieber.
There were no new evacuations or pre-evacuation orders in place Saturday afternoon.
The Type 1 Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team under the leadership of Bill Hahnenberg has assumed management of the incident at 6 a.m. Saturday.
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.
The evacuation center at Palisade High School has been open around the clock since 5:45 p.m. on Thursday for the Pine Ridge Fire evacuees. However, the evacuation center hasn’t seen a single evacuee, so at 2 p.m. Saturday the Mesa County Emergency Operation Center directed the evacuation center to close.
The American Red Cross remains available and able to reactivate the center if it is needed again or to assist those displaced by the Pine Ridge Fire on an individual basis. The local office of the American Red Cross is staffing their information and assistance phone line, 24 hours a day. Anyone needing assistance from the American Red Cross should call: (970) 210-9742.