The Pine Gulch Fire burning north of Grand Junction has become the 2nd largest wildfire in Colorado history after it grew to 125,088 acres in size by Wednesday morning

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Pine Gulch Fire grows to 125,108 acres overnight, now second-largest in Colorado history. Picture: Wyoming Hotshots/Pine Gulch Fire

The Pine Gulch Fire grew more than 37,000 acres overnight, according to the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center. It’s now 125,108 acres and the second-largest wildfire in Colorado history.

At more than 125,000 acres, the fire has surpassed the size of the 2018 108,045-acre Spring Creek Fire.

The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team said firefighting efforts at the Pine Gulch Fire are doing well on the northern and eastern side of the fire, but strong winds from a thunderstorm overnight caused the fire to expand westward.

For three to four hours, wind gusts reached speeds of 40 mph at the fire, creating “extreme and erratic fire behavior,” according to the incident management team.

In addition, the fire produced hours of lightning Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service out of Grand Junction. NWS explained that under the right circumstances, a pyrocumulus cloud can form and create lightning and thunder at the fire.

All firefighters were able to get to safety during the storm. Fire supervisors were assessing the situation around 8:45 a.m., according to the incident management team.

The incident management team said there is potential for a similar weather pattern Wednesday afternoon and evening as more thunderstorm cells move over the blaze.

The Pine Gulch Fire is now the second-largest wildfire in Colorado history:

1. Hayman Fire (2002): 137,760 acres
2. Pine Gulch Fire (2020): 125,108 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

The Pine Gulch Fire was first reported on July 31 about 18 miles north of Grand Junction. It was caused by lightning.

To learn more about evacuations, click here.

The Pine Gulch Fire is one of four major fires currently burning in Colorado that have already scorched more than 175,000 acres of land. The Grizzly Creek Fire has burned 29,000 acres, the Cameron Peak Fire in western Larimer County was 15,738 acres as of Wednesday morning, and the Williams Fork Fire burning in Grand County was 6,726 acres.

More wildfire news on Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. [The Denver Channel]

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