GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4) – The Pine Gulch Fire that was started by lightning last month has grown to more than 58,835 acres. The smoke created by the fire caused a pink glow over the Rocky Mountains as the sun set over the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs on Wednesday.
The fire is burning about 18 miles from Grand Junction and has forced many neighborhoods to evacuate. The fire was just 7% contained on Wednesday night. Smoke from the wildfire has prompted air quality warnings.
The fire was started by lightning on July 31. It’s spreading to the northeast.
Evacuated areas are as follows:
– County Road 204/Roan Creek Road
– 211/Clear Creek Road
– 207/Carr Creek Road
– 209/Brush Creek Road
– A small number of homes on County Roads 200 and 202
Air quality issues will continue for a large segment of Colorado through at least Friday due to both the Pine Gulch Fire and the Grizzly Creek Fire near Glenwood Springs. Alerts are in effect for areas west of Vail and Rabbit Ears Passes including Routt, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Eagle, and Mesa Counties because of heavy smoke from the fires.
Air quality alerts have also been posted for the entire Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Greeley areas because of smoke and high concentrations of ground level ozone. The air is considering unhealthy for sensitive groups including young children, older adults, and anyone with a respiratory illness.