Local entities are coordinating an effort to provide information and resources for evacuees with an Emergency Response Center at the Rotary Scout Hut, located at 210 East Sackett in Salida. Residents who have had some impact from the fire can get current information on housing support, public health, human services and more. Those willing to volunteer to house evacuees can also register at this location.

Organized in conjunction with the Chaffee County Office of Emergency Management, the setup provides a place for evacuees to access resources they need while evacuated. It also can arrange for their identification badges that will allow them back to their home when the evacuation orders are lifted.

Evacuees were signing up for badges at the Decker Fire Emergency Response Center located at the Scout Hut. (Photo by Jan Wondra)

The Multi-agency Resource area will be open this weekend Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5 and 6, from noon to 4 p.m. and Monday through Wednesday, Oct. 7 through 9 from 4 to 7 p.m.

The Red Cross, in from their Colorado Springs office, will be transitioning its services from the United Methodist Church to the basement of the Scout Hut, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning Oct. 6.

Within 45 minutes of its opening at noon on Saturday, the response center was buzzing, both with evacuees needing assistance and with community members offering to house.

That this is a caring community, there is no doubt. Public health notes that the community of Salida has been overwhelmingly generous in offering housing and shelter. Solvista Health and the Chaffee County Department of Human Services have been coordinating housing arrangements. At the moment, they say they have enough housing unless there are more evacuations.

“We had 48 offers of housing almost immediately,” said Solvista Health Manger, Mandy Kaiser, about the outpouring of concern as evacuations were announced. “It was amazing.”

Monetary donations intended to help local needs can be made through the Chaffee County Community Foundation (CCCF), which has established a new Emergency Response Fund.  To donate, click here to go directly to the  CCCF donor portal and fund page or use your browser and navigate to www.cccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1165.

Donors may also mail a check to “CCCF” P.O. Box 492, Buena Vista, CO 81211, and add a note to the memo line: “Emergency Response Fund.”  This marks the creation of a permanent fund to support the Decker Fire response and recovery, in coordination with other Chaffee County non-profits and Salida relief stakeholders.  The fund will also serve any future disasters as they occur.

The Decker Fire is divided into two Branches:

Branch I (on the northeast side by Salida) and Branch II (on the southwest side the San Luis Valley). Then subdivided into five divisions.

Branch I - Salida

  • Division T (northeast side by Wellsville)
  • Division R (north side by Salida)
  • Division W (southeast side by Howard)

Branch II - San Luis Valley

  • Division A (west side by Poncha Pass)
  • Division X (south side by Alder)