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A pair of helicopters fly toward the Decker fire with loads of water Tuesday while crews in the air and on the ground fight the blaze outside Salida. Calmer winds have helped firefighters in battling the blaze, which did not grow overnight, officials said Tuesday. The 8,100-acre fire remained 30% contained, according to an update from Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team. Two air tankers and seven helicopters dropped 130,000 gallons of water and 15 loads of retardant over the blaze Monday, officials said. Meanwhile, nearly 30 counties in Colorado, including El Paso, are under fire restrictions after weeks of high temperatures and little rain. Story, A3 Fight carries on against blaze near Salida

Despite little growth from the Decker fire the past few days, firefighters were preparing for gusty winds that could cause aggressive flames to ignite and spread quickly, officials said Thursday.

A red flag warning was issued at 10 a.m. Thursday and remained in effect through 10 p.m. due to “historically dry” conditions that cause high fire risk, according to an update from Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team.

Wind gusts were expected to increase in speed throughout the day, reaching 45 mph. A high pressure system could force those winds across the burn area, accelerating warming and drying, the release stated. Temperatures between 62 to 66 degrees and low relative humidity levels are also expected to increase fire danger.

On Thursday, firefighters continued to drop water on the 8,570-acre blaze, which remains 30% contained, the release stated.

Smoke in Salida and Howard might reach levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups, officials said. Crews will work in Bear Creek to add safeguards in the area. In Howard, firefighters are preemptively installing hoses, pumps and sprinkler kits because of the high fire risk.

The fire, ignited by lightning Sept. 8, remains 2 miles south of Salida. More than 880 firefighters are battling the blaze.

Reach Olivia at olivia.prentzel@gazette.com. Twitter: @oliviaprentzel

Reach Olivia at olivia.prentzel@gazette.com.

Twitter: @oliviaprentzel

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