Late Tuesday afternoon, some of the evacuation orders will be lifted effective at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9.
Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze announced the evacuations for residents of the Methodist Estates, and Boot Hill Subdivisions will be rescinded. Included in the evacuation orders that were lifted include residents who access their homes via CR 108 and who reside on CR 101.
Residents of Methodist Estates and Boot Hill will be asked to check-in with sheriff personnel. All residents will be required to show a valid ID or rapid tag id issued as part of the Decker Fire Incident to access their homes. Due to safety and accountability reasons, every time a resident enters the neighborhood, ID’s will be checked. This checkpoint will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
County Road 108 will remain the primary Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office checkpoint. Only residents of Methodist Estates and Boot Hill, as well as service providers, will be allowed into the area. No other access will be granted into this area as there are still fire personnel, activity and dangerous conditions present.
Residents on CR 101 will also be allowed directly to their homes on Wednesday as Fremont County will be moving that checkpoint to the Chaffee/Fremont County line. The sheriff’s office has a critical caution to evacuees who have been allowed home: they remain on pre-evacuation alert.
The sheriff’s office also cautions returning residents to be mindful of the changes they will see in their neighborhoods. Not only are firefighters still working in the areas, but there probably is still fire fighting equipment in the area to protect structures.
Be careful and stay away from the equipment. Firefighting personnel will be removing this equipment once it is confirmed that precautionary protection is no longer necessary. That will take a few days.
Extreme caution is advised on roads. Fire equipment is still operating in the area and visibility might be difficult due to wind-driven ash and dust.
Incident command and the sheriff’s office have both pointed out that recently burned areas are hazardous. Remain alert for downed power lines. Check propane tanks, regulators and lines before turning on the gas. Officials urge homeowners to go through their residence to check for hidden embers or smoldering fires.
Fire can burn deep into extremely dry tender, even down into tree roots. This will weaken trees that may fall unexpectedly. Stay out of burned areas, as hot spots and ash pits may still exist. Ash pits are deep holes in the ground filled with hot ash and embers and are often hard to see. Smoldering stumps, an occasional torching tree, or burning underbrush may still be seen within the existing fire perimeter.
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)