Governor Polis Visits Wildfire Incident Command Centers & DNR Director Gibbs has Reported for Duty to Fight Wildfires
EAGLE - Gov. Jared Polis today visited Incident Command centers in Eagle and Grand Junction to meet with emergency responders working on the front lines to combat the Grizzly Creek and Pine Gulch fires. The Governor was joined by the Department of Public Safety Executive Director Stan Hilkey and Department of Transportation Executive Director Shoshana Lew.
In addition, a member of Governor Polis’s cabinet who is a reserve wildland firefighter has been called up and has reported for duty. Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Dan Gibbs has been called up to fight the Grizzly Creek Fire. While Gibbs fights alongside a U.S. Forest Service wildfire crew, and brave first responders and volunteers on the front lines, Deputy Director Tim Maulk will serve as acting director of the department.
“I conveyed my gratitude to the over 1,100 men and women fighting the fires in western Colorado. Our entire state is grateful to our first responders for answering the call to protect our communities,” said Governor Jared Polis. “It’s no question that this is a difficult time for Coloradans, especially those in the vicinity of the fires, and we appreciate our emergency first responders and public safety workers now more than ever. Colorado communities are struggling with the effects of severe statewide drought and have proven our resiliency time and time again, and I know this time will be no different.”
“The Grizzly Creek Fire is now the number one fire priority in the entire nation and we are successfully receiving and deploying resources from across the country. The top priorities for the Grizzly Creek Fire include protecting and re-opening I-70 and protecting residents and homes in the area,” the Governor continued.
“The Pine Gulch Fire could threaten Debeque although firefighters are hopeful that natural rocky barriers will delay or prevent it from reaching the town. The winds from the Northwest the next few days are also helping firefighters protect the Roan Creek Road area,” Polis said.
The Governor is scheduled to provide an update on the fires, which are largely on BLM and Forest Service land, to Colorado’s congressional delegation this afternoon.
Grizzly Creek Fire
As of Friday morning, the fire had grown to more than 13,000 acres. Supporting agencies include the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit, Glenwood Springs Fire Department, Garfield County Sheriff's Office, Gypsum Fire Protection District, Roaring Fork Fire Rescue, Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District, Colorado River Fire Rescue, the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control and the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Firefighters are coordinating closely with the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol is assisting with road closures.
Daily operations video updates will be posted on the Grizzly Creek Fire facebook page. Maps and other information will also be posted on inciweb.nwcg.gov/. The team will host a virtual FaceBook live community meeting at 6 p.m., Friday, August 14.
Pine Gulch Fire
The Pine Gulch Fire, 18 miles outside of Grand Junction, saw a large amount of growth this week and has become one of the top five largest wildfires in state history. Three of those fires have occurred in the past decade. The fire is now more than 70,000 acres and at 7% containment. Information on the fire can be found on the Pine Gulch Fire Facebook page or on inciweb.nwcg.gov/.