The high winds that were anticipated to blow the Decker Fire to the east and northeast towards Howard on Saturday largely blew over the fire.
John Ashford, Decker Fire public information officer, said they forecasted wind for both the valley floor and for ridge tops and had anticipated some of Saturday’s gusty winds to reach the valley floor. “That didn’t really materialize,” he said.
Without the winds fanning the flames, the fire only grew by about 200 acres on Saturday to 6,155 acres and didn’t make any significant growth toward the Howard area.
Ashford said there was a lot of backing fire on Saturday and no large group torching.
Backing fire is the low intensity fire that helps clean the forest floor and it mostly took place going downhill in division A area of the fire, on the west side.
“That’s the kind of fire that’s productive,” Ashford said, noting that it’s safer to fight and isn’t hot enough to toss embers up ahead of the fire.
Without any areas of intense burning, Ashford said, there also wasn’t as much smoke production Saturday.
The weather is expected to be favorable for the next two days with winds calming down after this morning. It is dry, however, but without the wind to push the fire Ashford said the weather forecast is “really good news.”
“It’s looking good for the wind, which give us options for tactics,” he said.
The lack of wind will provide some opportunities for aerial ignitions, putting fire on the ground to take out some fuels.
Today, crews will be working by hand to improve the dozer line on the west side of the fire. Crews will also be scouting places to build an indirect line between the fire and Howard. The Howard-area in western Fremont County is on a pre-evacuation notice and if the fire reaches a management action point they would consider evacuating the area, depending on factors like the anticipated weather.
Mike Tombolatto, operations sections chief, said action point was about 2-3 miles from the fire on Saturday and about three miles to Howard in the other direction.
The BLM has also temporally closed its land south of U.S. 50 between Poncha Springs and Howard. Ashford said their big recommendation for hunters and others considering scouting or camping in the area to pay attention to closures and stay out of the fire area.