By Joel Hillan

CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Mandatory evacuations were ordered Wednesday morning for a wildfire burning near Salida. The Decker Fire has burned at least 3,746 acres and is threatening homes.

Joe Randall took this photo of the Decker Fire on Oct. 2, 2019.

Joe Randall took this photo of the Decker Fire on Wednesday. (credit: Joe Randall)

“It was kind of a very surreal kind of a feeling like was it really happening, there was adrenaline going, there was not really sure what was going to happen,” said evacuee Laura Pintane.

She was evacuated from her home in the hills just above Salida in the middle of the night.

“You never think it’s going to happen to you, but we had done some planning, made checklists, but didn’t really start throwing things in boxes until last night when we really knew we had to go,” she said.

Joe Randall took this photo of the Decker Fire on Oct. 2, 2019.

Another view of the Decker Fire on Wednesday morning. (credit: Joe Randall)

Residents in the Mountain Vista Village, Methodist Mountain, Fawn Ridge Estates, Boot Hill and Pinon Ridge Estates between County Road 110 to County Road 104 have been told to leave. Large animals can be evacuated to the Chaffee County Fairgrounds.

Decker Fire near Salida, wildfire smoke on Oct. 2, 2019

An image of the Decker Fire near Salida on Wednesday. (credit: CBS)

The fire has burned 3,746 acres so far. There is just 5% containment. High winds and low humidity are contributing to the fire’s spread. Winds on Wednesday have reached gusts of 46 mph with gusts up to 50 mph possible.

The fire spread through National Forest land and crested the hill overnight.

“I was on the backside on 285 and I came back over at about 8 o’clock and it really started to take over and came over the top, it looked like a volcano,” said Salida native David Daley. “When it would really catch some trees and some timber it would light up the whole sky just fire red, it was very impressive to see, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Laura said for the first time in 16 years she saw a mountain lion on her porch; a sign the fire was on the move.

“I’m feeling for the animals that are up there that are probably panicked by the fire coming towards them and moving them out of their house too,” she said.

The fire was started by lightning on Sept. 8 and is burning about nine miles south of Salida in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit’s Colorado Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

– See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile), the deadliest (Storm King) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado

Joel Hillan


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