Below is a summary recap and excerpts of the latest detailed update on the Decker Fire from John Markalunas, incident commander. To view the entire update, visit www.facebook.com/DeckerFire2019. This has the most up-to-date information as of Sept. 15.
The east side of the fire was active on Saturday, as it moved through dead and down beetle kill fuels. This activity was spurred by low humidity, warmer temperatures, and consistent winds. The fire remains on national forest lands and primarily in the wilderness. The fire did not make any significant advancement towards the east and remains totally in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area. Crews will continue monitoring the eastside of the fire and allow it to play its natural role in the wilderness to promote forest health and resiliency.
A crew remains camped on the northwest side of the fire, on the Platte Canyon Wildlands. They continue to check the fire’s spread onto non-forest lands on the west side of the ridge and tie the fire into natural barriers within the wilderness. A crew (MOD2) completed work to clear fuels from around the communications site on Methodist Mountain and crews also placed repeaters and a remote weather station on Saturday. A Type 3 helicopter from Helena, Mont., 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.
The fire is visible at night on both U.S. 50 and U.S. 285 corridors. Motorists are asked to not stop in the roadway and to get off the roadway to observe the fire safely. Please do not call 911 to report fire behavior on the Decker Fire or to request fire information. A fire information line is now available at (719) 626-1095 for fire updates. Markalunas reiterated to please call 911 for emergencies only.
Weather and fuel conditions:
Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 60s and winds are forecast to be eight mph out of the southwest, with intermittent gusts of up to 20 mph. Given the low humidity and winds, fire behavior and smoke production may be active today, similar to yesterday.
Evacuations and closures:
There are no evacuations or closures at this time.
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. More information can be found on the facebook page, www.facebook.com/DeckerFire2019.
Decker Fire statistics:
Size: Approximately 355 acres as of 2 p.m., Saturday
Total Personnel: 47
Start Date: Sept. 8, 2019
Location: 9 miles south of Salida
Fire Info Line: (719) 626-1095 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
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)
• Division A (west side by Poncha Pass)
• Division X (south side by Alder)