An unchanging weather pattern of nearly the same warm temperatures and low humidity has produced similar results in trying to fight the Mullen Fire.
For the second straight day, the large forest fire burning in the Medicine Bow-Rout National Forest about 40 miles southwest of Laramie grew just under 10,000 acres since midday Wednesday.
After an infrared measurement was taken at 1 a.m. Thursday, the Mullen Fire was still 14% contained and has consumed a total of 170,996 acres. It was the latest update on U.S. Forest Service’s Incident Information website, https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7208/, as of press time Thursday night.
The update stated, “Priority action is taking place in Albany, Centennial and Ryan Park subdivision with specifically designated structure protection groups.”
A total of 1,079 personnel were working the fire, managed by a Southern Area Type 1 Blue Team. The incident website also started providing a daily fact sheet format Thursday, which provides concise information on firefighting efforts and spread of the Mullen Fire.
The following are some of those notes that were provided at 11 a.m. Thursday:
— Fire crews assessed need and ordered supplies for structure protection in the Ryan Park and Centennial areas in the event the fire moves closer.
— The fire has worked its way around Albany. Firefighters focused on suppression efforts in the transition between timber and grasslands along the old railroad line between Albany and Centennial. Fixed-wing aircraft helped to fortify that line when clear air allowed.
— Grazing lands between Albany and Sheep Mountain provided a fuel break for firefighters, assisted by aircraft and retardant to limit fire spread to the east.
— A burnout was conducted Wednesday to secure the area about four miles north of A Bar A ranch in the northwest section of the fire.
— The north perimeter of the fire is resistant to containment due to heavy concentrations of dead and downed fuels. The fire was held in the Rambler area along Wyoming Highway 338. Structure protection efforts there and around Keystone were successful, with helicopters assisting with water drops.
— Firefighters worked to cool the heat in the finger burning west of Woods Landing.
— Structure protection efforts were successful in the Foxborough, Fox Park and Mountain Home areas, although there was more heat in the area.
— A large portion of the Mullen Fire continues to burn in significant beetle-killed lodgepole pine trees with heavy dead and downed fuels.
The update stated the weather conditions will continue to deteriorate with respect to firefighting efforts for the next several days, with continued critically low relative humidity, well above-average temperatures, and winds picking up, with gusts of 25-30 mph.
Mandatory evacuations are still in place for the communities of Rambler, Albany, Fox Park, Wold, Woods Landing, Graham and adjacent areas, Lower Keystone and Moore’s Gulch. Pre-evacuation orders are still in place for Meadow Plains Road south to Yankee Road; areas near Sheep Mountain to Lake Hattie Reservoir and north of Highway 230; and Centennial.
For current information on the multiple evacuations and pre-evacuations, visit the following websites:
Albany County Sheriff Office (WY) Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Albany-County-Sheriffs-Office-618424944997540
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (CO) Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JacksonCountySheriffOffice
Larimer County (CO) website: https://www.larimer.org/emergency/emergency-information
Road status can also change quickly change in response to fire conditions. Colorado Highway 127 and Wyoming Highway 230 on the west side of the fire are now open. For the most current information on Wyoming and Colorado road closures, visit: https://www.wyoroad.info/pls/Browse/WRR.STATIC5?SelectedDistrict=1 and https://cotrip.org/travelAlerts.htm#?roadId=.
No estimate is available about reopening closed roads.
According to the incident website, the estimated containment date for the Mullen Fire, which started Sept. 17, is Oct. 30.
For comparison purposes, the Cameron Peak Fire, southeast of the Mullen Fire in Colorado, which started Aug. 13, had consumed 128,149 acres as of Thursday and was 42% contained. It is expected to be contained Oct. 31.