Colorado on fire: What you need to know

Laura Studley

Fires have captivated the attention of Coloradans, leaving the sun shrouded in an eerie, orange glow. 

Currently, there are four major fires; the Grizzly Creek fire, the Pine Gulch fire, the Cameron Peak fire and the Williams Fork fire. The largest is the Pine Gulch fire 18 miles outside of Grand Junction, covering over 200 square miles


Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order on Aug. 19, ordering fire restrictions for the entire state. Three days later, Polis declared a state of disaster emergency. This order enables state agencies to coordinate and make resources available for fire response, suppression and recovery efforts. 

Source: Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Pine Gulch fire 

On Sunday, authorities reported that there has been significant containment of the Pine Gulch fire, reporting 44% of the perimeter contained, according to the Incident Information System

Lightning is the reported cause of this fire, starting July 31 at approximately 5:15 p.m. 

This fire is now the second largest fire in Colorado history behind the 2002 Hayman fire, which spread over 210 square miles.

The Grizzly Creek fire 

Spanning over 45 square miles at a 31% containment, the Grizzly Creek fire continues to spread outside of Glenwood Springs. 

Beginning on Aug. 10, the fire has closed a major interstate between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum, with no estimated time for reopening, according to the Incident Information System.

The cause of this fire is still unknown. 

Cameron Peak fire

Ignited Aug. 13, this fire is roughly 40 miles west of Fort Collins, covering over 20 square miles. It is currently burning in Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest west of Colorado State University’s mountain campus. 


Larimer County Sheriff confirmed on Aug. 23 that there was 0% containment; however, planned actions include “extensive structure protection” and “indirect suppression activities,” according to the Information Incident System. 

Williams Fork fire

This fire, beginning Aug. 14, was human-caused, spanning over 15 square miles. 

Crews are monitoring the fire’s movement to ensure that the fire is kept on the north side of Williams Fork River, according to the Information Incident System website

The estimated containment date is Saturday, Oct. 31. 

Lewstone fire

Located around ten miles northwest of Fort Collins the Lewstone Fire currently spans 165 acres. The Lewstone Fire officials recommended voluntary evacuation in parts of the area on Aug. 23, as the fire continues to burn. The Larimer Sheriff reported that there was “good progress” made. Firefighters will continue to patrol overnight. 

Laura Studley can be reached at or on Twitter @laurastudley_