The Pine Gulch Fire 15 miles north of Grand Junction, Colorado created its own weather very early this morning. It took a combination of several factors, including low relative humidity, an unstable atmosphere, plenty of available fuels (vegetation), and strong outflow winds from a thunderstorm to the north that blew through the fire area between 10:20-10:30 p.m. This caused the fire to increase in intensity and the development of a very large pyrocumulus cloud over the smoke column that created lightning.
Here is the tweet from the National Weather Service that accompanied the image above:
The Weather Service said the lightning lasted for hours and Grand Junction residents could hear the thunder.
Did you hear thunder in Grand Junction last night? That’s right…the #PineGulchFire produced hours of lightning and occasionally the bolts were visible. Here is a video taken at our office. The 3rd largest wildfire in Colorado’s recorded history is full of surprises. #cowx pic.twitter.com/1u4ZlaEtlG
— NWS Grand Junction (@NWSGJT) August 19, 2020
Below is map of the fire showing the perimeter at 1:49 a.m MDT August 19, 2020.
The Pine Gulch Fire grew by 37,899 acres on August 18, bringing size up to 125,108 acres.
The Garfield County Sheriff issued new evacuation orders for the northwest side of the Pine Gulch fire August 19.
- From the Mesa County line north to the east/west Colorado Highway 256 (Four A Ridge Road) including north/south CO Hwy 256. 256/205 moving from pre-evacuation to full evacuation.
- From Highway 139 Douglas Pass road east to the preexisting evacuation order for Carr Creek Road (207).
- This includes CO Hwy 205 Salt Wash and Kimball Creek Road (202) on Kimball Mountain.
- CO Hwy 258/King Road is evacuated.