The Type 1 Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team  assumed command of the Decker Fire at 7 a.m., this morning with Mark Giacoletto as Incident Commander. The Rocky Mountain IMT thanks the Type 3 IMT for its dedication and skilled management of the Decker Fire. We look forward to serving this community.

The infrared aircraft was unable to fly last night due to mechanical issues, thus today’s map does not have an updated fire perimeter or updated acreage.

The acreage listed on this update and today’s map is from yesterday morning. We know the fire has grown several hundred acres. We will make this information available as soon as we can.

Weather: The fire had slightly better overnight humidity recoveries than expected, and winds remained calm. Today, humidities will remain low at 10-20%, with temperatures 52-61F. Winds should remain calm this morning, and increase to 10-15mph from the SW, with gusts 20-25mph. These wind speeds could contribute to an increase in fire behavior starting around 11am or 12pm. The winds are less than previous days, so smoke may not be transported as far as it has in past days. Near-critical fire weather will persist through the week.

Current Situation: Yesterday, the combination of low humidities (down to 8% at times) and high winds set the stage for significant fire behavior. Around 1pm, fire on the north-facing aspect of Methodist Mountain was driven northeast and east by wind. The fire crossed over the Rainbow Trail; this prompted an evacuation of the Bear Creek neighborhood along CR 101. Fire moved east toward CR 101 and the Bear Creek drainage; however, infrared capable aircraft was unable to fly last night to report on an exact new perimeter. We will share updates on fire growth as soon as this intel has been obtained. Yesterday, crews and equipment in Division R near the Boot Hill and Bear Creek neighborhoods worked aggressively to limit fire spread and protect values at risk. Dozers created fireline parallel to the powerlines heading east toward the 101, and heavy aircraft dropped retardant between the fire and the Boot Hill and Bear Creek neighborhoods.

Today, firefighters in Division R will construct more dozer line heading east toward CR 101. If conditions allow, they may perform firing operations to eliminate unburned fuel between the fire front and the values at risk in Boot Hill. Residents may see aircraft dropping water or retardant in Division R this morning. There will be a strong structure protection presence in the Boot Hill and Bear Creek neighborhoods, and structure prep will also take place in Howard. Crews in Division A on the west side of the fire will scout for options to construct additional indirect handline and dozer line heading north toward Division R. Division X on the southeast side will now be split to include a new Division T, and crews in this area will be scouting for indirect fireline options. Please note that, as of today, the fire will also be divided into two “Branches” (Branch 1 on the north and Branch 2 on the south). Each branch will contain Divisions. Dividing up a fire into “Branches” and “Divisions” is a way for fire managers to keep operations organized, defined, and properly staffed.

Resources for the night operational period have been increased, and multiple crews, engines, and managers will be working overnight to monitor fire behavior and protect values.

Closures and Public Safety: There are multiple road closures around the Decker Fire area in Chaffee, Freemont and Saguache County. For your safety and firefighter safety, please respect posted closures. For San Isabel Forest closures, please go to: https://tinyurl.com/SanIsabelClosures. For Rio Grande Forest closures, please go to: https://tinyurl.com/RioGrandeClosures. For evacuation information, please contact the Chaffee County Sherriff’s Office at 719-539-2596 or go to the Chaffee County Sheriff or Freemont County Sheriff Facebook pages and websites.

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