by Sam Klomhaus
Mail Staff Writer
The U.S. Forest Service is monitoring a 98-acre fire in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area, which is sending smoke into Salida, Forest Service spokeswoman Judy Perez said.
The fire, called the Decker Fire, was first reported Sunday afternoon and was caused by lightning, Chad Lewis, interagency fire management officer, said.
The Decker Fire is entirely within the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area in the Rio Grande National Forest, Perez said, and has not spread to the Pike/San Isabel National Forests.
The fire is just smoldering in the grass, Perez said, and is meeting a lot of resource objectives such as reducing fuels, removing dead trees and helping aspen regeneration.
A Forest Service press release said the fire is burning on a south-facing slope in grass under an aspen stand.
As long as the fire continues to do that and doesn’t hit a trigger point, such as a change in the weather, the Forest Service will continue to monitor it but not take direct action.
Perez said smoke in Salida could also be a trigger point for the Forest Service to go put out the fire.
Lewis said the Forest Service will post notices for local hunters, but currently there are no structures threatened, road closures or forest closures.
Three other, smaller fires are burning in the area, the release stated, and also are being monitored.