Decker Fire Information 10-04-2019

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team – Mark Giacoletto, Incident Commander             

Information Center: (719) 626-1095

Hours of operation: 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.






October 4, 2019 (10 a.m.)        


Special notes: Correction from yesterday’s update: Firefighter’s were ASSESSING structures in the Howard area yesterday. Actual structure prep work will begin in the coming days, starting in the Pine Ridge area and moving east from there.


Weather: Near critical fire conditions again today. Moisture recoveries improved last night; however, dry weather and strong winds return after 10am today. Winds should be light this morning at 7-15mph but will increase from the W/SW to 20-30 mph sustained with gusts of 35-40 mph. Humidities from 17-23%; temperatures 52-61F. Strong winds will persist into the night, with gusts up to 40mph. Humidity recoveries predicted to be low, leading to another RED FLAG WARNING on Saturday. Large, heavy beetle kill fuels remain very dry, and are receptive to spotting and increased fire behavior.


Current Situation: The infrared aircraft was able to fly last night (October 3) and obtained a current acreage of 5,824. Much of this change in growth was from the north and eastward push on October 2. Growth yesterday (October 3) was mostly on the western side of the fire in Division A and on the southeast side near the border of Divisions X and S, in the Wilderness on the Rio Grande Side. Fire behavior was somewhat reduced yesterday due to lighter winds and better overnight humidity recovery, and growth was minimal on the north and northeast. Yesterday, crews in Division R created dozer line south of the Boot Hill neighborhood, while firefighters in Division A on the west worked on indirect line with dozers and handcrews. Crews in Divisions X, S and T scouted for fireline opportunities, and helicopters made water drops over the fire for much of the day. Large air tankers dropped retardant along the ridge from the repeater site on Methodist Mountain north towards the powerlines.


Today, dozers will keep up their work in Division R, placing line between the fire and the values at risk. Firefighters in Division R will begin looking for options to construct direct fireline on the north edge of the fire, along the “finger” that runs east toward Bear Creek. Crews and dozers in Division A will construct indirect fireline along a ridge to the west of the fire’s edge, leading north toward the A/R division break. Weather allowing, fixed-wing aircraft will keep working on the retardant line along this ridge. A handcrew will go into Division X today to scout for possibilities for fireline near the old Oxcart burn scar and will keep improving existing road systems. Firefighters in Divisions S and T will improve existing handline and scout for opportunities for more indirect line to the east of the fire. The terrain in this area is extremely difficult and dangerous; crews must patiently look for options that present the highest possibilities for success while minimizing risk to firefighter safety. Structure protection groups remain present in Boot Hill and Bear Creek today, and they will also assess structures in Howard. Fire managers will assist utility companies in assessing options for dealing with damage to the infrastructure on Methodist Mountain.


While fire managers hope to utilize aircraft today, there is a strong possibility that high wind speeds may prevent their use.


Many new resources have arrived on the Decker Fire including nine new engines, multiple firefighting crews, another dozer, another Type 1 (Chinook) helicopter, and several more overhead staff. There are now 458 people working on the Decker Fire, and more resources are arriving today. Firefighters are aggressively engaging in suppression actions where values are at risk and where they have the highest probability of success.


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: For Rio Grande Forest closures, please go to: For evacuation information, please contact the Chaffee County Sherriff’s Office at 719-539-2596 or go to the Chaffee County Sheriff or Fremont County Sheriff Facebook pages and websites.


Fire Statistics:  

Location: Fire started 9 miles south of, and is now burning 2 miles south of Salida, CO               

Start Date: September 8, 2019

Cause:  Lightning      

Size: 5,824 acres                                                                                                                   

Percent Contained: 5      

Total Personnel: 458                                                                                                           

Resources Include: 4 Type-1 hand crews, 8 Type-2 hand crews, 19 engines, 3 dozers, 5 water tenders

Air Resources: 3 Type-1 (K-MAX, Blackhawk, Chinook), 1 Type-2, and 2 Type 3, and 3 fixed-wing aircraft

PIO MAP 10-04-2019


SMOKE OUTLOOK 10-04-2019