Bull Draw Fire burns thousands of acres fueled by hot, dry conditions
Brian Pisarek, Incident Commander
A 17-mile section of the Divide Road on U.S. Forest Service land has been closed. The northern closure is at the junction of “Brushy Ridge” National Forest Service Road #408 and the Divide Road NFSR #402. The southern closure is at the “Windy Point” junction NFSR #600 Road and the Divide Road #NFS 402. Additionally, to the west of the fire there are closures of Bureau of Land Management land that extend the current closures about 2 miles west. These closures are to allow crews to safely prepare for fire-fighting operations. The public’s patience and understanding is greatly appreciated with these closures. For questions concerning this emergency closure, call the Grand Valley Ranger District at (970) 242-8211.
Significant smoke is found all throughout Colorado — much of this is from other fires in other states to the west — as well as various fires in Colorado.
A northerly wind shift is likely by Friday and this has the potential to push the fire aggressively in new directions. This week’s hot and dry conditions will continue with high temperatures in the mid-80s. Relative humidity will range from 9-14 percent. Prevailing winds will be from the northwest at 4-7 mph. Weather conditions and fuels could contribute to more extreme fire behavior if slope and wind align. If wind speeds increase, the fire has the potential for some torching and runs.
There have been no structures lost. Yesterday was a challenging day with the fire growing over 1,000 acres. Most of that fire growth was in the east with much activity in the late afternoon. This behavior will be expected again today in areas on the uncontained fireline.
In the northeast, yesterday a finger of fire approached the Divide Road NFSR #402 near the Tongue Road junction. Divide Road was already closed to allow fire crews to perform burnout operations to keep the fire off the road. There was also a significant late-afternoon run in the southeast.
Along the southwest flank, helicopters, three hotshot crews and an initial attack crew are limiting the fire spread to the west.
The fire remains active on the north side (Mesa County), where the fire is moving westwards. The fire has crossed the South Fork Mesa Creek drainage and structure protection is in place in the northwest.
There are multiple closures in place for areas affected by the Bull Draw Fire. These are in effect for both public and firefighter safety and to allow fire operations to be carried out successfully.
Closures include BLM roads, trails and lands, National Forest System roads and trails, and some county roads. For a map of current BLM and National Forest closure areas, go to https://bit.ly/2vSLNLe.
To sign up for emergency and evacuation notifications in Montrose County go to CodeRed at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/BF7ED953CC69. To sign your cell phone up for emergency alerts in Mesa County visit https://member.everbridge.net/index/892807736721759#/login.
Public health info: Smokey conditions will persist in the area. For a detailed daily air quality summary for all areas of Colorado, visit: https://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colorado_summary.aspx. Other fires across the western states are also affecting overall air quality and smoke in the area.
The fire started on July 29, 12 miles northwest of Nucla, Colo. The fire that was caused by lightning has burned 8,700 acres and is 35 percent contained as of Aug. 9. There are 224 people fighting the fire.
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