Decker Fire Map Oct. 9, 2019

While Wednesday saw increased fire behavior in upslope and up-canyon areas in Division W of the Decker Fire west of Howard, along with increased smoke in the area, the U.S. Forest Service reported there was minimal threat to the area.

The Forest Service said ground crews are conducting hand-firing operations in Division Alpha on the west side of the fire to remove fuel sources and bring the fire down to planned control lines.

Penny Bertrem, public information officer, said Division A has been able to go up to the Black Line and bring the fire back down. The Black Line represents already burned-over area, denying the fire any vegetation. On the east side, the fire has remained in place with little movement.

Zone 1, the Pine Ridge area near Howard, is still under pre-evacuation status. In zones 2 and 3 in the Howard area, the notice has been lifted.

The American Red Cross demobilized its evacuation center at the Salida Rotary Scout Hut as of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Andrea Carlstrom, Chaffee County public health director, reported.

The Red Cross will remain on standby in case there are any changes.

Public information officer Jonathan Ashford said changing weather could be an issue for firefighters, with a front coming in Wednesday evening.

The Decker Fire started with a Sept. 8 lighting strike in the Decker Creek drainage of the Sangre de Cristo mountains roughly 5 miles southeast of Poncha Pass in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area of the Rio Grande National Forest.

It subsequently spread into the San Isabel National Forest.

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