Decker Fire Update
Saturday, October 19, 2019 as of 9:00 a.m.
Location: Fire started 9 miles south of, and is now burning 2 miles south of Salida, CO
Start Date: September 8, 2019
Size: 8,705 acres
Percent Contained: 30
Total Personnel: 889
Resources Include: 4 Type-1 hand crews, 14 Type-2 hand crews, 32 engines, 4 dozers, 9 water tenders, 2 masticators
Air Resources: 4 Type-1 (K-MAX, Blackhawk, Chinook), 1 Type-2, and 3 Type 3, and 2 fixed-wing aircraft
Special notes: A Red Flag Warning is in effect between 1:00pm and 10:00pm. Low humidity levels and W/SW wind gusts up to 45 mph are predicted to hit the fire area, increasing the risk of fuels igniting and fire spreading. Aerial operations may be limited by the higher winds. This morning, Great Basin Type 1 Team 2, led by Tony DeMasters, took over incident command. Incoming team members spent Friday shadowing the outgoing Rocky Mountain Type 1 IMT Team 2. The team looks forward to the work ahead, and to meeting the needs of the local community.
Weather: Clear skies return over the fire area today, Relative humidity (RH) will drop to critical levels by early afternoon. Winds will become strong and steady with gusts to 45 mph. Erratic winds are likely on the east side of the fire. Max temperatures will range from 50-54 degrees over the fire and minimum RH will be 14-17%.
Current Situation: Yesterday’s colder temperatures and moisture helped limit fire behavior, but increased activity is expected today. In Division A/X yesterday, the large area of active fire near Simmons Peak continued its slow move southward, but was kept in check by southwesterly winds. It is slowly backing its way southward, but still within the indirect line established farther to the south. Crews on the west side engaged in mopup activities to improve the depth of line along the edge of the fire. They also performed suppression repair work in areas around established fireline, which helps return the land to its previous condition and minimize the environmental impact of fire suppression activities. The mopup and repair work continues today. Fire burning on the edge of the line near Methodist Mountain showed little activity yesterday, but will be closely watched today because of the Red Flag conditions.
Farther north in Division R, the fire along the “minimal risk, limited action” brown line showed less activity yesterday, and will be monitored today. Crews on the north end continued suppression repair work on established fireline, and they will continue that work in the area today.
To the east inDivision T, firefighters finished securing the “Rock Finger” area of the fire near Bear Creek yesterday. They made progress in efforts to put fireline around the nearby “Columbine Thumb” and firming up line down the east edge of the fire. That work continues today.
Crews in Division W/Y focused on chipping operations along a new primary control and contingency line between the Wilderness boundary and Howard. It will take another 2-3 days to complete that work. The spot fire on the southeast corner was monitored all day, but showed minimal activity. That fire is in a high remote area, and surrounded by rock on three sides, and will be monitored again today. Firefighters will also assess the area for possible future contingency line locations that would protect values at risk west and south of Howard.
Structure protection crews today will remain in the Bear Creek neighborhood to make sure all equipment is ready if needed Night Operations continues to monitor the fire as they hold and secure fireline.
Closures and Public Safety: There are road closures in Chaffee, Fremont and Saguache County. Please respect closures. San Isabel Forest closures: https://tinyurl.com/SanIsabelClosures. Rio Grande Forest closures: https://tinyurl.com/RioGrandeClosures. BLM closures: Facebook @BLMColoradoFire and https://tinyurl.com/BLMCLosure. For evacuation information, please contact the Chaffee County Sherriff’s Office: 719-539-2596, or Fremont County Emergency Management: 719-276-7416, 719-276-7418 or go to the Chaffee County Sheriff or Fremont County Sheriff Facebook pages and websites.