MESA COUNTY, Colo. — A wildfire 18 miles north of Grand Junction has grown to 1,500 acres, and is just 5% contained.

The Pine Gulch Fire was started by lightning Friday evening, according to a release from fire officials, and is burning in Mesa County about a mile south of the Garfield County line.

It is burning in rugged terrain, in pinyon, juniper, oak brush and sagebrush, the release said, and hot and dry weather in the area is expected to continue. Gusty winds could make things worse, according to the release.

“The dense, dry fuels in this area are very receptive to fire, which is driving some intense fire activity today,” said Jim Genung, Pine Gulch Fire Incident Commander.

Ground crews are working to establish a containment line around the fire’s southern perimeter, the release said, and options for holding the fire in continuous, dry fuels along the fire’s northern and eastern flanks are limited. The release said crews are considering roads and other landscape features to help contain the fire.

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