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A fire in Moffat engulfed an entire city block Tuesday, Chaffee County Fire Protection District Chief Robert Bertram said.

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Firefighting activity on the Decker Fire was high Tuesday, with improvements to fire lines, more aircraft assistance and public communication all in high gear.

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Starting today, Salida Public Works will be working with a contractor on pavement markings, including crosswalks and lane striping, in several locations.

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In the long term, the Decker Fire will enhance animals’ habitat and benefit them. Right now, however, they’re fleeing the burning area.

“The main thing is the fire will temporarily displace animals,” said Kim Woodruff, Colorado Parks and Wildlife area wildlife manager. “They’ve adapted with fire so they’re used to it.”

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The evacuation order for residents of Silver Heels Road and residences directly west is canceled effective at 3 p.m. today, Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze announced.

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Seven helicopter and a fixed wing air tanker were used to battle the Decker Fire Monday.

A Tuesday morning fire update put out by public information officers noted 130,000 gallons of water were dropped and 15 loads of retrdant were applied.

The report said suppression repair work is in progress in Divisions A and X at the Rainbow Trail on the fire’s eastern edge and Division R on the northern edge near Salida.

Drivers in neighborhoods near the fire are asked to drive carefully. Fire vehicles and crews are hauling equipment for structure protection in many areas.

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The Decker Fire was reported at 8,118 acres as of Monday evening. Monday was a Red Flag Warning day, with low humidity and gusty winds, Mike Tombolato, operations section chief, said.

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Good news for the Decker Fire this morning as there will be no red flag warning, Penny Bertram, fire information officer reported.

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The Decker Fire jumped the Rainbow Trail near Bear Creek around noon Sunday, resulting in mandatory evacuations for Swissvale, Wellsville and Silver Heels Drive up Bear Creek.

Zones 1, 2 and 3 in Howard are all on a pre-evacuation notice and residents should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

The Salida United Methodist Church, 228 E. Fourth St., is the evacuation center for both Chaffee and Fremont county evacuees. All evacuees are asked to check in so they can be accounted for.

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Fremont County undersheriff Derek Irvine said Monday about 44 people have been evacuated from Fremont County, and Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said seven Chaffee County houses have been evacuated due to the Decker Fire.

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In 1883, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad built the Monte Cristo Hotel, just across the F Street bridge. At a cost of $38,000, it was also a railroad dining establishment, set up to take care of hungry travelers on stopover.

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The Salida High School football team continued showing signs of improvement during its homecoming contest Friday against Pagosa Springs.

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The Decker Fire jumped the Rainbow Trail near Bear Creek around noon Sunday, resulting in mandatory evacuations for Swissvale, Wellsville and Silver Heels Drive up Bear Creek.  

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With crews working all around the Decker Fire, the fire is now 30 contained, up from 15 percent the day before.

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After consulting with the Decker Fire officials the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department has re-instated a PRE-EVACUATION notice as a precaution for Howard residents in Zones 1 and 2 as of 11:30 am. An existing spot fire in the southeast corner of the Decker Fire in the wilderness area has be…

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The Decker Fire is the No. 1 priority wildfire in the U.S. right now, public information officer Rick Barton said Thursday. He estimated the fire has cost about $18 million to fight.

The fire camp is the nerve center of the operation, he said. A Level 1 incident management team is the most complex and therefore requires the most amenities in its camp.

The Decker Fire is a Type 1 incident primarily because of its threat to subdivisions, Barton said.

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Low overnight temperatures resulted in no new growth on the Decker Fire, public information officer Rick Barton said Friday.

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A trace of snow fell on the Decker Fire Thursday. The minimal amount of snow didn’t have much effect on the fire, public information officer Rick Barton said, but higher levels of humidity kept the fire from growing much throughout the day. 

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Firefighters on the Decker Fire are using a combination of shovel crews and bulldozers to place direct and indirect lines to contain the fire in places.

Line positions are determined by hotshot crews and wildfire planners. Direct lines are right on the edge of the fire, and indirect lines are near the fire, usually between the fire and a value at risk in a place where crews think the fire can be stopped.

Operations Chief Mark Delmerico said he prefers direct lines a lot of the time, but snags and fire-weakened trees can be very dangerous for hotshot crews, and the Decker Fire has a lot of that sort of material, so going direct poses a hazard.

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The Salida boys' soccer game against Manitou Springs has been postponed. Salida was scheduled to host the Mustangs at 4 p.m. today. The game, however, has been postponed because of inclement weather in Manitou Springs, Salida Athletic Director Jim Coscarella said.

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The Pine Ridge area near Howard remains on pre-evacuation status until further notice, as of Wednesday evening, a Fremont County Sheriff’s Office press release stated.

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The Decker Fire is still causing problems for broadcasting towers on Methodist Mountain, as the companies involved struggle to get power to the site through the fire.

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While Wednesday saw increased fire behavior in upslope and up-canyon areas in Division W of the Decker Fire west of Howard, along with increased smoke in the area, the U.S. Forest Service reported there was minimal threat to the area.

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With blood (maybe), tears (probably not) and dreams left out on the football field Wednesday, the senior/sophomore team in black found a way to beat the junior/freshman team in white, 27-21 in overtime at the Salida High School Homecoming Powder Puff football game.

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Due to forecasts of snow, a strong cold front and a hard freeze, the National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook Wednesday for most of the state.

Snow is forecast for today across the Decker Fire area and Salida, but accumulation is expected to be small.

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The American Red Cross demobilized its evacuation center at the Salida Rotary Scout Hut at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Chaffee County Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom said.

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Decker Fire containment reached 14 percent on Tuesday.

Over the past two weeks, containment consistently was reported at 5 percent, a number that hadn’t changed for several days.

However, weather continues to challenge firefighters.

Jonathan Asford, a fire public information officer, said the red-flag warning Tuesday will extend through today.

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Fremont County Sheriff sent a clarification about the zone breakdowns within the Howard and Pine Ridge areas at about 2:30 p.m. Zone 1 is the Pine Ridge area and is still under pre-evacuation status. Zones 2 and 3 in Howard the pre-evacuation notice is lifted.

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The American Red Cross will be demobilizing its evacuation center, located at the Scout Hut, at 12:30 p.m. today, Chaffee County Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom said.

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The Decker Fire added about 180 acres burned yesterday, public information officer Jonathan Ashford said this morning.

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Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center will offer a class on obstructive sleep apnea from 9-10 a.m. Oct. 15 in the hospital’s second-floor conference rooms, 1000 Rush Drive. 

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Salida Sunrise Rotary Club announced it will accept applications for scholarships from Oct. 15 until 5 p.m. Dec. 1. 

The scholarships are for students who will be attending a vocational/technical school, community college, college or university in January, according to a press release. 

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Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze canceled the evacuation order for residents of Methodist Estates and Boot Hill subdivision and all other residents who access their homes via CR 108 as well as residents who reside on CR 101, Bear Creek.

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Decker Fire officials reported that firefighters do not need housing, even with the cold weather expected for Thursday and Friday.

In a report issued Tuesday afternoon firefighting officials wrote:

“We just wanted to clarify: the firefighters do not need housing.

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With 882 personnel fighting the Decker Fire on Monday, crews are spread out into five divisions, each working to contain a portion of the wildfire.

Along the north perimeter of the fire in Division R, crews improved the direct hand line on Sunday. Bulldozers also constructed a fire line from north end of the Rainbow Trail, south along the ridge line to the Chaffee County line at the Division R/A break to the west.

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