Tag Archives: Decker Wildfire Colorado

Decker Fire Active With Strong Winds

While San Luis Valley residents awoke to a welcome dense fog, bringing some much-needed moisture into the area, crews continue to battle recent high winds associated with the Decker Fire. Residents are reminded of tonight’s Public Meeting, October 1 at 6:30 p.m. at The Scout Hut, 210 E. Sackett Ave., Salida, CO 81201. For those unable to attend, the Decker Fire Facebook Page has been great about video updates.

The Decker Wildfire encountered fierce winds on September 30 as crews fight to contain the blaze which began September 21.
The Decker Wildfire encountered fierce winds on September 30 as crews fight to contain the blaze which began September 21. Photo: USFS

As of Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 11:30 a.m. here’s the word from the official incident commander.

Current Situation: High winds contributed to increased activity on the Decker Fire yesterday. Heavy smoke developed over the fire and could be seen for many miles. In Division S on the northeast, the fire remained calm. Morning bucket work by helicopters helped to slow the spread to the northeast. In Division A on the west, around 3pm, fire activity increased significantly in a previously inactive area. Driven by strong winds from the south, the fire burned northward from the Green Rocks area toward Simmons Peak. This area had dense sections of unburnt fuel, and flame lengths were 80 to 100 feet high at times. A large smoke column developed over the fire, and the fire grew approximately 600 acres. The smoke column appeared so large and dense due to the heavy concentration of dead and down fuel that has built up in the forest over the years. Some “spot fires” were detected in Division R on the San Isabel side near the upper Rock and Bear Creek drainages. The majority of growth was on the western side of the fire within the wilderness boundary. A night shift was established on the fire last night; two engines and a Task Force Leader monitored behavior overnight and will continue to do so as long as they are needed.

Today, October 1 is another Red Flag Warning day, with low humidity (11-16%) and gusty winds. Fire growth is probable today, with movement likely toward the north. Heavy smoke and plumes are possible. Helicopters will fly this morning to cool spots from yesterday’s growth. Multiple lookouts will be posted to observe for any developments. Crews and dozers on the north will scout for additional opportunities for fireline outside of the wilderness. Structure protection crews will be present in Silver Heels and Bear Creek. As the fire reaches wilderness boundary and safer terrain, firefighters have a much stronger probability of success and can engage in more aggressive suppression efforts. Fire managers have ordered additional resources for this purpose.

A dense, moist fog greeted San Luis Valley residents on the first day of October.

The majority of the fire is burning in inaccessible wilderness full of dead and down fuel where it is unsafe for firefighters to go, and where helicopter water drops can only slow and cool the fire. Portions of the wilderness may burn until fuels have been consumed or after a season-ending event such as significant and sustained snowfall. Limiting spread onto private and BLM land and ensuring firefighter and public safety remain top priorities.

Weather & Fuel Conditions: Relative humidity recovery was poor last night, and today should be another sunny, dry day with humidities from 11-16%. Temperatures 53-62F. Winds from the SW/S, 15 to 35, with gusts as high as 55. Winds from the SW may align with drainages between 12pm and 3pm and will then shift to come from the south around 3pm. Smoke plumes are most likely between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Critical fire weather and high winds are expected to persist through the week.

Smoke: Significant smoke may remain in areas surrounding the fire. Some individuals may be more sensitive than others. You should take actions to protect yourself if you are having symptoms. Further suggestions can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/ReduceYourSmokeExposure. Real-time smoke information is available at https://tinyurl.com/DeckerFireSmoke. Today’s smoke forecast for Salida and Arkansas River Valley is available at https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/CentralColorado.

Closures: Portions of the 101 and 101A roads on National Forest lands and the Rainbow Trail (1336 tail) south of 108 road to the Stout Lakes Trail (1403 trail) have been closed. Chaffee County Road 101/CR 49 (Bear Creek Road) in Fremont County is closed (open to local traffic only). A temporary flight restriction (TFR) has been issued over the fire area to allow for aerial operations. Remember: if you fly, we can’t. There are no evacuations at this time. 

Please do not call 911 to report fire behavior on the Decker Fire or to request fire information. A fire information line is available for fire updates. Please call 911 for emergencies only.

Decker Fire Statistics:
Size: 2207 acres, with 5% containment
Total Personnel:  220
Cause:  Lightning
Start Date: September 8, 2019
Location:  9 miles south of Salida, CO

Decker Fire Information Office

Fire Info Line:  (719) 626-1095

InciWeb:  https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6592/

Facebook:  facebook.com/DeckerFire2019

Twitter:  #DeckerFire2019

Decker Wildfire Update

According to officials from the US Forest Service, the Decker Fire was very active on Saturday, specifically on the southwestern flank as the fire moved south of Merkt Creek towards the Oxcart Fire burn scar. There was activity in the upper Bear Creek drainage along the top of the ridge as well. In both locations, the fire moved through heavy dead and down fuels and was spurred by low humidity, warmer temperatures, and consistent winds. The fire remains on national forest lands and primarily in the Wilderness.

Heavy fuels saw the Decker Wildfire send plumes of smoke into the skies on Saturday. Photo: USFS

On the west side of the fire, the Platte Canyon Wildland Fire Module continues to check the fire’s spread onto non-forest lands on the west side of the ridge and tied the fire into natural barriers within the Wilderness. They remain spike camped on the northwest side of the fire to monitor behavior.

The east side of the fire was also active yesterday afternoon, as the fire moved into heavy dead and down beetle-killed fuels. The fire did not make any significant runs towards the east and remains totally in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area. Crews will continue monitoring the east side of the fire and allowing fire to play its natural role in Wilderness to promote forest health and resiliency. A crew (MOD2) completed work to clear fuels from around the communications site on Methodist Mountain. Crews also placed repeaters and a remote weather station on Saturday. A Type 3 helicopter from Helena, Montana remains assigned to the incident and remains available, should the need arise.

The fire is expected to continue flanking south towards the Oxcart Fire scar today as well as slowly working north along the ridge towards the peak of Methodist Mountain.

Interactive Map Includes a Close-up of Area.

The fire is visible at night and will be visible from both the US 50 and US 285 corridors. Motorists are asked to not stop in the roadway and to safely get off the roadway to observe the fire. Please do not call 911 to report fire behavior on the Decker Fire or to request fire information. A fire information line (number below) is available for fire updates. Please call 911 for emergencies only.

Weather & Fuel Conditions: Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 60s and minimum humidity will be from 17-22%. Winds are forecast to be 8 mph out of the southwest, with intermittent gusts of up to 20 mph. With low humidity, warmer temperatures, and consistent winds, it is possible that fire behavior and smoke production will be active today, similar to yesterday. A low pressure system will develop over southern Colorado this afternoon. The low pressure system will bring isolated thunderstorm chances over the Decker Fire Sunday afternoon.

Evacuations and Closures: There are no evacuations or closures at this time. Smoke may settle into the US Highway 50 corridor in the late afternoons or evenings. Drivers are encouraged to reduce speed near the fire if smoke affects visibility.

Smoke: On Saturday, the Air Resource Advisor moved the Salida smoke monitor to the Bear Creek area. The other sensor remains in Coaldale. Real-time smoke information for both sensors is available at bit.ly/deckerfiresmoke. A smoke forecast has been issued for the Salida and Arkansas River Valley. That forecast can be found at https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/CentralColorado. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s smoke outlook can be found at https://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colo_smoke.aspx.

Decker Fire Statistics:
Size: Approximately 355 acres as of 2 p.m. Saturday
Containment: 0%
Total Personnel: 47
Cause: Lightning
Start Date: September 8, 2019
Location: 9 miles south of Salida, CO

Contact Information:
Facebook: facebook.com/DeckerFire2019
Fire Info Line: (719) 626-1095 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
Email: 2019.Decker@firenet.gov
Twitter: #DeckerFire2019