At 15:09 on July 4th, 2019 Grand Junction Fire Department Engine 3 was dispatched to a growing brush fire threatening four houses. The caller indicated that fireworks were seen in the area. Red Flag conditions caused the fire to spread rapidly, traveling uphill towards homes on Skyway Dr. and Promontory Court to the west. Two fire engines with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Wildland Fire Team, who were patrolling specifically in case fires started because of the Fourth of July holiday, also immediately responded. The first fire crews on scene worked quickly to determine the best access to the fire, as it continued to grow in the ravine between the two neighborhoods. Command requested additional engines from GJFD and assistance from BLM to help combat the blaze.
By 15:46 the Incident Dispatch Team (IDT) was requested to respond to the scene; allowing communications to be handled at the location of the fire while emergency calls continued throughout the City of Grand Junction. Officers from the Grand Junction Police Department and Mesa County Sheriff on scene began assisting with traffic control and working with command to determine if any evacuations would be necessary. A yellow five-inch hose traveled the length of Vista Grande Road to the nearest fire hydrant supplying critical water to fire operations. Roads were blocked off at the intersection of Vista Grande Rd. and Skyway Dr. to prevent vehicles from blocking emergency vehicles or driving over hoses. Requested air resources begin the hour-long flight to the location of the fire. Colorado Parks and Wildlife evacuated Connected Lakes State Park as a precaution.
At 16:44 the Type 1 aircraft arrives and begins dropping water on the fire running parallel to Riverview Dr. Ground crews continue to work the fire and indicate priority locations for the air drops. Patrol units from the GJPD and MCSO begin evacuating homes along Riverview Dr. Strong winds were pushing the fire directly up the hill towards the houses lining Riverview Dr. In total 7 homes were evacuated. At 16:55 IDT arrives on scene and takes over communications. Brush 4 is staged on Riverview Dr. as crews continue to beat back the fire threatening houses. The fire reached the fence line of several homes before being extinguished.
By 18:52 the fire was 60% contained. MCSO volunteers a boat for areas of active fire that can only be reached by water. By 21:36 the fire was 100% contained. It was determined the fire was caused by a juvenile setting off illegal fireworks. The case is currently under investigation by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. Additional story and information was provided by Grand Junction Fire Department PIO
For more information on these incidents contact the Community Outreach Office at (970)549-5858 or by e-mail at GJFirePIO@gjcity.org.
Units on Scene:
Grand Junction: Battalion 1, Truck 1, Engine 3, Engine 4, Engine 5, Brush 4, Brush 5, Brush 6, Tender 5, PIO 1 & IDT1
Command Staff: Chief 1, Chief 2, Chief 3 & Chief 6
Mesa County Sheriff Wildland Team: 2220(Fire Marshal), 2415, Engine 103, Engine 126 & Chase 105
Bureau of Land Management: Battalion Chief 21, Engine 2411, Chase 2411 & Engine 2613
Helitack: Helicopter 2-CH
Lower Valley Fire District: Brush 31(Cancelled On Scene)
Day 2 Mop-up:
Grand Junction: Battalion 1, Engine 4, Brush 4, Engine 5 & Brush 5
Mesa County Sheriff Wildland Team: Engine 103, Engine 126 & Chase 105