SAN LUIS VALLEY – Sept., 30 High winds are contributing to increased activity on the Decker Fire. Heavy smoke developed over the fire and can be seen for many miles. In Division S on the northeast, the fire remained calm. Morning bucket work by helicopters helped to slow the spread to the northeast. In Division A on the west, around 3pm, fire activity increased significantly in a previously inactive area. Driven by strong winds from the south, the fire burned northward from the Green Rocks area toward Simmons Peak. This area had dense sections of unburnt fuel, and flame lengths awere 80 to 100 feet high at times. A large smoke column developed over the fire, and the fire grew approximately 706 acres. The smoke column appeared so large and dense due to the heavy concentration of dead and down fuel that has built up in the forest over the years. Some “spot fires” were detected in Division R on the San Isabel side near the upper Rock and
Bear Creek drainages. The majority of growth was on the western side of the fire within the wilderness boundary. A night shift was established on the fire last night; two engines and a Task Force Leader monitored behavior overnight and will continue to do so as long as they are needed. Red Flag Warnings with low humidity (11-16%) and gusty winds are hindering suppression efforts.
The majority of the fire is burning in inaccessible wilderness full of dead and down fuel where it is unsafe for firefighters to go, and where helicopter water drops can only slow and cool the fire. Portions of the wilderness may burn until fuels have been consumed or after a season ending event such as significant and sustained snowfall. Limiting spread onto private and BLM land and ensuring firefighter and public safety remain top priorities.
Closures: Portions of the 101 and 101A roads on National Forest lands and the Rainbow Trail (1336 tail) south of 108 road to the Stout Lakes Trail (1403 trail) have been closed. Chaffee County Road 101/CR 49 (Bear Creek Road) in Fremont County is closed (open to local traffic only). A temporary flight restriction (TFR) has been issued over the fire area to allow for aerial operations.