The Pine Gulch Fire has set a grim record.
The megafire has grown to 139,006 acres and is now the largest wildfire Colorado has ever seen.
According to officials, the Pine Gulch Fire started on July 31 about 18 miles north of Grand Junction and was sparked by lightning.
It’s been burning in dry, rough terrain, in pinyon, juniper, oak, and sage brush. Soaring temperatures consistently reaching more than 90 degrees and approaching 100 degrees have dried out the fuel, helping the wildfire to grow.
? The #PineGulchFire is now the largest wildfire in Colorado history at 139,006 acres. The previous record largest Colorado wildfire was the #HaymanFire, which burned 137,760 acres. Crews & firefighters continue to work hard to contain the Pine Gulch fire – now up to 77%. #COwx pic.twitter.com/fOFDkyfgFR— NWS Grand Junction (@NWSGJT) August 28, 2020
Before Thursday night, the Hayman Fire was the largest wildfire on record in the state. That fire, which broke out in 2002, burned 137,760 acres north of Lake George, and included Park, Jefferson, Douglas and Teller Counties.
According to the Pike and San Isabel National Forests, it was one of the most severe wildfires in respect to burn intensity.
It grew rapidly and destroyed 600 structures in its path, including 133 residences, one commercial building and 466 outbuildings. The fire was caused by humans and was contained and and controlled by the end of July 2002.
In contrast, only one residence and four minor structures have been lost in the Pine Gulch Fire. It was 77% contained as of Thursday evening.
Below, you will find Colorado’s 10 largest fires in history:
1. Pine Gulch Fire (2020): 139,006 acres
2. Hayman Fire (2002): 137,760 acres
3. Spring Fire (2018): 108,045 acres
4. High Park Fire (2012): 87,284 acres
5. Missionary Ridge Fire (2002): 72,962 acres
6. 416 Fire (2018): 54,000 acres
7. Bridger Fire (2008): 45,800 acres
8. Last Chance Fire (2012): 45,000 acres
9. Bear Springs/Callie Marie fires (2011): 44,662 acres
10. 117 Fire (2018): 42,795 acres
Was it really a lightning? We will never know. Officials also say the fires in California were started by dangerous bolts…