The Decker Fire only grew about 50 acres on Friday. It’s now at 7,162 acres.
Crews started to back burn areas of the fire aerially yesterday. They used helicopters to access areas that are too rugged for firefighters to reach, dropping plastic spheres that ignite by the time they hit the ground.
Public information officer Rick Barton said they’re very deliberate when using the spheres and station hotshot crews around the areas being back burned. That work is planned to continue today and tomorrow, back burning a total of 1,500 acres within the fire’s boundary. Some of the work will be above the Rainbow trail in the northeast area of the fire.
The back burning could create some smoke in the area, but Barton said they’re not anticipating heavy smoke filling up the valley because of wind in the forecast.
Currently 851 total personnel are on the fire, a number that fluctuates when each crew arrives or leaves. Once that back burning is completed, the number of firefighters on the lines could start decreasing, Barton said. “Once that’s secured, we can start sending them on,” he said. “We’re feeling more and more secure and confident the lines will hold.”
With low humidity, gusty winds and rising temperatures throughout the day, there’s a red flag warning today over the fire. The humidity could be as low as 5-10 percent in parts of the fire, Barton said.
If winds pick up, it could cause them to pull the plug on the helicopter drops.
“We’re constantly evaluating the most effective ways to put (the fire) down,” Barton said. He added that zero hours have been lost to accidents on the fire. “We have an excellent safety record,” he said.