There were hundreds of vehicles and close to 1,000 people packed in and around the Howard Volunteer Fire Department during the community “pre-evacuation” meeting convened by various agencies in charge of Decker Fire management.
“A lot of you folks lived through the Hayden Fire,” said Fremont County Sheriff Allen Cooper. He stressed that the meeting was not a call for immediate evacuation. But that it seemed like “a good idea to get everybody ready in case” the fire breaches its easternmost boundaries.
Evacuation of people and small animals could wait, Cooper continued, but “the time to move livestock is now,” to give owners adequate time for round-up and removal.
The Pine Ridge area would be the first to receive evacuation notices; then Howard, then Swissvale and Wellsville. Should the notices go out, they will go out first by a robocall from Alert Fremont, Fremont County’s reverse 911 system. Then a push from the Fremont County Sheriff’s Facebook page through social media and finally by door-to-door calls from deputies.
Incident Captain Mark Giacoletto, of Rocky Mountain Incident Management, or the “Black Team,” in charge of Type 1 fire management, gave an update on the weather conditions for the next few days. Wind gusts are expected to be 45 mph, and hot, dry conditions with no predicted moisture mean red flag conditions over the weekend.
In response to a question, Giacoletto said that if the fire bumped Highway 50, “we will shut it down,” so that fire vehicles can get through.
Operations section chief Mike Tombolato urged those Fremont County residents in the crowd not on Alert Fremont to sign up for the reverse 911 notification by going to www.fremontco.com and looking for the “Alert Fremont” box on the home page.