Evacuations ordered at the Decker Fire south of Salida, Colorado

Winds on Wednesday caused some movement to the east

Morning briefing Decker Fire

Above: Morning briefing at the Decker Fire, October 3, 2019. IMT photo.

(UPDATED at 9:01 a.m. MDT October 3, 2019)

Strong winds gusting at over 25 mph out of the west on Wednesday pushed smoke from the Decker Fire to the east toward Colorado Springs. The wind combined with the relative humidity dipping down to the ridiculously low 2 percent at Salida resulted in the northern portion of the fire to spreading to the east. (see map below)

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Decker Fire, including the most recent, click here.)

There was no fixed wing aircraft mapping flight Wednesday night due to mechanical problems with the plane. The map below shows heat detected by a satellite as late as 3:48 a.m. Thursday, but that data from hundreds of miles overhead is not as accurate as an aircraft 5,000 to 10,000 feet above the ground. So consider the dots that represent heat to be approximate locations. With that in mind, the fire may or may not have approached or crossed the boundary of the Rio Grande National Forest, the green line.

map Decker Fire
The dots represent heat on the Decker Fire detected by a satellite. The most recent heat detected (red dots) was at 3:48 a.m October 3, 2019.. The red line was the perimeter at 1:27 a.m. MDT Oct. 2, 2019.
Satellite photo smoke Decker Fire
Satellite photo of smoke from the Decker Fire just south of Salida, Colorado.
smoke Decker Fire
On Wednesday October 2 wind pushed smoke from the Decker Fire to the east. IMT photo.

The Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team assumed command of the fire at 7 am. Thursday.

Resources assigned to the fire Wednesday evening included 8 hand crews, 10 engines, and 5 helicopters for a total of 259 personnel. Approximately $1.9 million has been spent on managing this less-than-full-suppression fire to date.

We will update this post as more information becomes available.


(UPDATED at 3:50 p.m. MDT October 2, 2019)

map decker fire colorado
Map showing the perimeter of the Decker Fire 3 miles south of Salida, Colorado at 1:27 a.m. MDT Oct. 2, 2019.  The white line was the perimeter about 24 hours before.


(9:13 a.m. MDT October 2, 2019)

At about 3 a.m. Wednesday the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office ordered evacuations for some areas between the Decker Fire and Salida, Colorado. Their Facebook page has the most current details.

The Decker Fire was very active Tuesday evening and into the night spreading about two to three miles further north, depending on where the measurement is taken.  It also grew on the west side up to half a mile. (see map) There are multiple spot fires up to one-half mile out ahead of the northern fire front.

During a Wednesday morning mapping flight at 1:27 a.m. the fire was still within the boundaries of the Rio Grande National Forest, by half a mile, but had spread from the 10,000-11,000 foot level down to the 8,500 foot elevation north of Methodist Mountain. The northern-most spot fire at that time was 2.7 miles south of Highway 50.

At 1:27 a.m. the fire was mapped at 3,746 acres.

3-D map decker fire colorado
3-D map showing the perimeter of the Decker Fire 3 miles south of Salida, Colorado at 1:27 a.m. MDT Oct. 2, 2019. Looking southeast. The white line was the perimeter about 24 hours before.

Smoke from the Decker Fire is predicted to blow off to the east on Wednesday, and could affect residents in Colorado Springs.

smoke Decker Fire
Smoke from the Decker Fire is predicted to blow off to the east on Wednesday, and could affect residents in Colorado Springs. This is the forecast for 6 p.m. MDT Wednesday, Oct. 2.

The dry, windy conditions are expected to continue Wednesday, with a Red Flag Warning in effect from noon until 7 p.m. for strong winds and very low humidity. The forecast for the north side of the fire (at 7,400 feet) calls for winds out of the west at 20 mph, 71 degrees, clear skies, and 6 percent relative humidity — weather conditions that could be conducive to additional fire growth. The wind should decrease to less than 10 mph Wednesday night and Thursday.

Red Flag Warning Colorado
Red Flag Warning in effect Wednesday from noon until 7 p.m. for strong winds and very low humidity.

The Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team has been ordered and is expected to in-brief Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The strategy for the fire is not to completely suppress it, but to herd it around while protecting structures and private land.

The resources assigned to the fire Tuesday evening included 8 hand crews, 9 engines, and 3 helicopters, for a total of 231 personnel.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

5 thoughts on “Evacuations ordered at the Decker Fire south of Salida, Colorado”

  1. Thanks for following this. I have loved ones in the area, and this helps a lot.

    Are the Google Earth images your creation? Or are they posted to a government site?

    Thanks.

  2. Please adhere to high fire danger signs. We were glamping at Turquoise Lake near Leadville and within 24 hours campers around us took off and left hot burning embers in two fire pits. After my husband drowned the pits with our leftover tank water, high winds picked up and continued for the remainder of Sunday. These winds fueled the Deckers Fire. For these people, I can only say stay home and burn up your own backyard.

  3. We are north of the Decker fire in Buena Vista, CO, and can see the smoke (could see the flames with binoculars last night!) billowing from the region around Methodist Mtn. I’ve been studying google maps and the inciweb maps. Though I live here, the information has been confusing. Thank you, Mr. Gabbert, for your reporting and for those informative maps you’ve provided. Better than anything anywhere else. I’m bookmarking your site.

  4. I see the fire has passed Methodist Mountain. If I remember right, there are some communications towers there — hope they were saved for the community’s sake.

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