National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Date of Occurrence: July 31, 2020 - September 23, 2020

Total Acres Burned: 139,007 acres

3rd largest wildfire in Colorado history (as of March 2022)

The Pine Gulch Wildfire began on July 31, 2020 due to lightning 18 miles north of Grand Junction and grew to 139,007 acres before it was contained in mid September. The combination of drought-stressed vegetation, unseasonably hot weather and steep terrain led to weeks of active burning. Smoke columns were often visible from Grand Junction and the surrounding area as the wildfire exhibited extreme fire behavior. During the night of August 18, the fire grew quickly due to thunderstorm winds up to 40 mph for a three to four hour period. As a result, the fire increased by more than 30,000 acres that night. The ash plume was so intense that lightning was produced. The fire resulted in the evacuation of residences, including along Roan Creek Road (CR 204). Numerous county roads were closed, as well as a portion of Highway 139. The fire also threatened oil drills and gas wells. Some firefighters sustained minor injuries.

On August 27, 2020 the Pine Gulch Fire became the largest wildfire in Colorado State history, surpassing the Hayman Fire that burned near Colorado Springs in the summer of 2002. 

View of Shelf Cloud from NWS GJT
Map of the Fire Perimeter
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