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Firefighters battle 6,000-acre blaze in Colorado

Decker Fire Facebook Page

Hundreds of firefighters in Colorado are battling a 6,000-acre wildfire that threatens communities near Salida, a city located 142 miles south of Denver.

Low humidity and wind gusts are causing problems for the 730 people working on the Decker Fire, according to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team‘s Facebook page.

Although fire activity was fairly minimal Friday, the change in weather conditions Saturday could change things, Decker Fire information officer Jonathan Ashford told CNN.

“A lot of what we’re seeing in terms of spread depends on how that wind lines up with the topography,” Ashford said. “There are areas of the fire that will be exposed to the strong winds that haven’t been exposed in the past few days.”

Patrick Costin, with the Rocky Mountain fire incident management team, told CNN the fire is at 5% containment.

The fire has been blamed for the loss of one home earlier this week, Costin added.

Lightning started the fire September 8, the Incident Management Team said. A combination of low humidity and high winds have created significant potential for spotting, the team said. This threat lead to a pre-evacuation notice for Howard, Pine Ridge, Wellsville and Swissvale communities Friday afternoon.

A group of highly trained firefighter-paramedics known as the Rapid Extraction Module (REM) are working the Decker Fire, the Incident Management Team added. This is a team experienced in high and low angle rope rescues.

“If a firefighter is injured or incapacitated in difficult-to-access terrain (which is prevalent on the Decker Fire), these rescuers create rope and pully systems to extract the injured firefighter and get them to a location where a helicopter can land or an ambulance can access them,” the Incident Management Team stated.

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