Western Colorado residents have asked the question, "Why was the Pine Gulch Fire declared a disaster sooner?" According to Mesa County News, the answer is a very simple one.

According to Mesa County News, yesterday (August 24), the Chair of the Board of Mesa County Commissioners declared a formal local disaster emergency in response to the impending consequences of the Pine Gulch Fire.

The statement on the Mesa County News official Facebook page reads:

This official declaration allows Mesa County to access all available emergency funding sources to respond to the consequences of this fire, which will require emergency watershed protection actions to mitigate the impact of flooding from drainages and waterways emanating from the Pine Gulch burn scar.

In the comments section of the post, Mesa County News responded to the question as to why it took so long to declare a disaster. The comment reads:

We’ve gotten a few questions as to why Mesa County didn’t declare a disaster sooner for the Pine Gulch Fire. The simple answer is we didn’t need to. Very early on, the Pine Gulch Fire met the requirements to become a State Responsibility Fire and use funds from the state’s Emergency Fire Fund. This is a process already in place that allows for more resources to be used on fire without the need for an emergency disaster declaration.

According to the Mesa County News post, the Emergency Disaster Declaration is really a matter of preparing for the aftermath of the fire. Eventually, and hopefully, someday Mesa County will see rainfall again. When that happens, it will be necessary to mitigate potential flooding from the burn scar left by the Pine Gulch Fire.

Do you recall a handful of years ago when a large fire burned for weeks on the Bookcliffs? Eventually, we had a significant rain which helped to extinguish the fire. Unfortunately, when the ash washed down the hillside, the Colorado River ended up looking like the La Brea Tar Pit.

Looking at the National Weather Service, tonight (August 25) will bring a ten-percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Wednesday and Thursday will be sunny and hot. The next chance for showers is Thursday night. Friday brings a twenty-percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.

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