A public meeting will be held at 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Poncha Springs Town Hall, located at 330 Burnett Ave. Fire managers will be available to give an update on the fire and answer questions from the public, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Forest Service Friday morning.
The Decker Fire had limited activity Thursday, amounting to approximately 18 acres of growth, despite lower than expected humidity through the day.
On Thursday, the Type 3 Incident Management Team, led by John Markalunas, took command of the fire. Fire managers gained intelligence on the fire from reconnaissance flights through the day. A
plan has been established to increase communications among responders by placing portable repeaters in the Methodist Mountain area. Firefighters continue to monitor and scout the fire area. The Platte Canyon Wildland Fire Module is camped between the fire and US Highway 285 to monitor and check the fire’s spread onto non-forest lands.
Additional resources continue to join the efforts on the fire. An Air Resource Advisor deployed two air quality monitors in the Arkansas Valley - one east of Salida and another in Coaldale. As they begin collecting data, a daily forecast for smoke will be made available to the public. A Type 3 helicopter from Helena, Montana is assigned to the incident. This aircraft is capable of bucket drops or can be used to extricate injured firefighters, if either of those functions are needed. Firefighters will continue to monitor the fire and work to ensure that the fire remains on national forest lands.
A fire information line is available to the public for fire updates. Please do not call 911 to report fire behavior on the Decker Fire or to request fire information. Please call 911 for emergencies only. Hours of operation for that line will be expanded to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting Friday.
Weather & Fuel Conditions: Seasonal temperatures are expected into Saturday. Temperatures will reach the mid-60s and humidity is expected to be lower today, between 10 and 15 percent. Winds are forecast to be 10-15 mph out of the southwest, with intermittent gusts of up to 22 mph. With lower humidity and consistent winds, it is possible that fire behavior and smoke production will be greater today versus what was seen on Wednesday and Thursday.
Evacuations and Closures: There are no evacuations or closures at this time. Smoke may settle into the US Highway 50 corridor in the late afternoons or evenings. Drivers are encouraged to reduce speed near the fire if smoke affects visibility.
Smoke: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has issued a smoke outlook for the Decker Fire. This could bring periods of light to moderate smoke to Salida, Cleora, Wellsville, and Howard. Friday night and Saturday morning, drainage winds will allow smoke to settle in locations below the fire, both to the south and southwest in northeastern Saguache County, and toward the east or northeast in western Fremont County. For more information on smoke from the Decker Fire, please visit https://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colo_advisory.aspx.