7pm Update: The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation to all residence and business south of S ½ road, west of 45.5 Rd and east of I 70.
Those affected by this evacuation should leave the area immediately via the De Beque Cutoff and travel towards the town of Mesa then take HWY 65 back to I70. Evacuees can go to Palisade High School.
All others should avoid I 70.
Fire behavior is considered extreme with wind conditions not set to diminish for some time.
Previously Released: According to the B.L.M., the lightning-caused Pine Ridge Fire is now estimated to be at 1,500 acres and substantial growth is expected Thursday.
The blaze doubled in size overnight and lightning from Wednesday night's thunderstorms could ignite new fires as well.
The fire is located ten-miles northeast of Grand Junction, five-miles west of De Beque, and northeast of the Little Book Cliffs Wilderness Study Area.
The wildfire is burning on B.L.M. land and private property. Approximately seven structures are currently threatened at the nearby Mustang Ranch, according to B.L.M. officials.
A community meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the De Beque Community Center located at 381 Minter Avenue. All phones registered with the Emergency Notification System should receive a message detailing the meeting on Thursday.
Anyone in Mesa County with a cell phone can sign up for alerts by visiting http://www.gjcity.org
Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey will host the meeting along with the incident commander for the Pine Ridge Fire. In the hours leading up to the meeting, they're asking De Beque community members to contemplate their own evacuation and what they need to do to prepare, according to the sheriff's office.
Their primary concern is with residents in the south end of town but they also want to emphasize the importance of planning ahead for businesses which are south of De Beque, along the I-70 Frontage Road.
Fire officials recommend mitigating risks to combustibles and hazardous materials for properties in that area.
Close to 100 firefighters are battling the blaze. They are being assisted by two helicopters and two heavy air tankers.
B.L.M. officials say the terrain in the remote area is difficult to access and fire behavior is extreme as they spot ahead of the fire.
There is no containment on the wildfire and officials say they are evaluating the best strategy to manage the fire.
Thursday night's community meeting will allow residents to contemplate their own evacuation based on personal concern.
Continue to follow KJCT News 8 on air and online as we keep close tabs on the status of the fire and any possible evacuation orders.
The most current information regarding all Colorado wildfires can be found at http://www.inciweb.org.