Evacuation meeting

Jay Esperance, Type 1 incident commander in training, of the U.S. Forest Service, addresses those attending a meeting Friday evening at United Methodist Church. Looking on are Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze and Tracy LeClair of the Forest Service's Decker Fire public information team. Esperance was incident commander at the Hayden Pass Fire, which had been designated a Type 2 wildfire.

Effective on Saturday, the shelter for evacuees of the Decker Fire will be moved to the Rotary Scout Hut on Sackett St. at Riverside Park in Salida.

The shelter is currently at United Methodist Church, 4th and D streets, where it was set up on Oct. 2.

Rich Atkins, Chaffee County emergency manager, made the announcement Friday evening at a meeting for those evacuated at the church. The Rotary Scout Hut will be open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, October 7-9, the Scout Hut will be opened from 4p.m. - 7p.m.

Red Cross will be transitioning their services from the Methodist Church to the Rotary Scout Hut basement from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning Sunday October 6, 2019.

Residents who have been impacted by the fire should visit the Rotary Scout Hut to access current information regarding public health, human services, housing support, and more.

Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said he understood evacuees’ frustration in being displaced from their homes.

Since early Wednesday, he said some 130 residents have been ordered evacuated affecting 300-plus people.

He said in the past three days deputies have assisted about 70 people who asked to return to their homes in the evacuation area.

He asked that evacuees limit the time at their residences if they do return to no more than 15 minutes because of the number of people asking to return to their homes.

To arrange an escort, evacuees can call the sheriff’s office at 539-2596.

To help identify evacuees, Atkins said, badges will be issued to every person. He said the badges will be made at the Scout Hut and that evacuees should bring identification for verification.

At the meeting, Tracy LeClair, a fire public information officer, said the Decker Fire has been designated as the top wildfire priority in the country.

She said a Type 1 fire team took over management and direction of the fire on Friday.

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