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.
“The positive is the higher humidity allows us to go in direct on the fire and stir it up,” Barton said. “The high humidity made everything sit.”
The humidity was around 60 percent on Thursday. The fire was at 7,034 acres Thursday morning and didn’t get much bigger. “All of the burning was inside the (burn) area,” Barton said. “That’s good – it helps us keep fuels away from the control lines.”
Crews spent Thursday building and improving fire lines.
Division R, on the north side of the fire, got their line done, said Penny Bertram, another public information officer with the fire.
Division T, on the northeast side, used chippers to get rid of some debris and also started walking the fire down to the line, creating more black areas with nothing left to burn, Bertram said.
In the southeast area of the fire, Division W built contingency lines and used a bulldozer to make the area more accessible.
On the west side of the fire, Division A improved and held their lines.
“They have made a lot of good progress,” Barton said.
They also finished a lot of work Wednesday to protect the Bear Creek area, Barton said.
Wind dropped temperatures in the area and will challenge the firefighters, especially the ones who work on night crews.
“It’s still really cold right now,” Barton said Thursday evening. “We’re telling the night crews to stay warm, don’t get hypothermic or frostbit and don’t play with water.”
Firefighters were also issued cold weather gear and warmer sleeping accommodations, Barton said.
A hard freeze was predicted for this morning. The relative humidity was expected to hover around 55-60 percent.
“That’s better than it has been,” Barton said about the humidity. “That keeps the fire slowly acting.”
Today, crews will continue strengthening and holding their lines. If it warms up enough, Barton said crews might try to burn areas between the fire and fire lines.
While the humidity kept the fire from growing much on Thursday, it didn’t affect the larger fuels much.
“The fuels are still really dry,” Barton said. “The moisture parked (the fire) for a day, but bigger logs won’t be affected by what we had.”