The Decker Fire could be clearly seen after it crossed Methodist Mountain, looking south on Grant, just off U.S. 50. Photo by Jenny Wright.

With the Decker Fire still uppermost in the minds of county residents, Chaffee County will host a Decker Fire Recovery Community Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday Feb. 29 at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds, located at 10165 CR 120 in Salida.

The county is positioning this meeting as a “free preparedness fair” open to the entire county and surrounding area, regardless of whether or not the Decker Fire had a personal impact. Residents from nearby Fremont County communities like Howard are also invited to attend.

The county has arranged for subject matter experts to be available to talk with county residents. Those professionals’ expertise will range from flood insurance, mitigation work, business continuity, and well water testing, to creating emergency “go-kits”, animal safety, and property assessments. Their goal; to answer questions and provide resources for county residents.

For businesses, there will be experts on hand to talk about communications strategies, donation and volunteer management, and evacuation planning.  The business community is encouraged to stop by to connect with these subject matter experts.

“While the Decker Fire is over, there are many things to consider to ensure we are as safe and resilient when faced with future wildfires, flooding, and other natural disasters,” said Andrea Carlstrom, Chaffee County Public Health director. “Experiencing and recovering from a wildfire or another threat is complicated, and we want this event to equip our county with the resources and information necessary to be prepared,” she continued.

While parents talk with fire prevention experts, there will be activities for young children and gift card drawings every hour (residents must be present to win).

The Decker Fire Recovery Team, comprised of county and city leadership and community stakeholders, will also be collecting comments from community attendees about what topics they would like to learn more about for future training and workshops.

For more information, contact Carlstrom at 719-530-2564 or acarlstrom@chaffeecounty.org or Chaffee County Emergency Manager Richard Atkins, at 719-207-2730 or ratkins@chaffeecounty.org.