Decker fire acreage at 846 as of Monday

The Decker Fire casts a long swath of smoke over the San Juans and Sangre de Cristos Saturday. Smoky conditions were noted throughout Saguache County. Photo by: Teresa L. Benns

SAGUACHE COUNTY — According to a Rio Grande National Forest press release Monday, the Decker Fire was less active on Sunday, with increasing cloud cover in the afternoon and calmer winds keeping fire activity at a minimum.


The fire continues to creep south between Merkt Creek and the Oxcart Fire scar.


The Colorado DFPC Multi-Mission Aircraft mapped the fire at 846 acres, which accounts for Saturday’s growth. Most of Saturday’s growth occurred on the west side of the fire in the Rio Grande National Forest.
The east side of the fire was less active on Sunday. Two small spot fires close to the main body of the fire became established on Saturday. These spots are high on the ridge within the wilderness area and are expected to advance uphill towards the main body of the fire. There was very little fire advancement on the east side of the ridge on Sunday. 


The fire remains totally in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area east of the ridge. Crews will continue monitoring the east side of the fire and will allow the fire to play its natural role in the Wilderness area to promote forest health and resiliency. A Type 3 helicopter from Helena, Montana remains assigned to the incident should the need arise.


On the west side of the fire, the Platte Canyon Wildland Fire Module is monitoring the fire’s progress on the northwest corner of the fire. The crew continues to check the fire’s growth onto non-forest lands on the west side of the ridge and work to tie the fire into natural barriers within the Wilderness. The Platte Canyon crew remains spike camped on the northwest side of the fire.


The fire is expected to remain calm as long as clouds remain in the area and humidity remains high. The fire may be visible at night and will be visible from both the US 50 and US 285 corridors. Motorists are asked to not stop in the roadways and to stay clear of the roadways before stopping to observe the fire.


Please do not call 911 to report fire behavior on the Decker Fire or to request fire information. A fire information line is available for fire updates. Please call 911 for emergencies only.


The US Forest Service estimates that areas within the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area have up to 80% tree mortality from beetle-kill and blowdown. The Decker Fire is being managed to remove these high-risk fuels from the landscape for ecological benefit and to reduce the risk for catastrophic wildfire in the future.  


There are no evacuations or closures at this time. A smoke alert has been issued for the Salida and Arkansas River Valley. That forecast can be found at https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/CentralColorado.

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