Mullen Drop

An air tanker drops fire retardant Thursday on the Mullen Fire burning in the Medicine Bow National Forest. The fire has grown to involve more than 100,000 acres and is now being fought by more than 1,000 firefighting personnel.

LARAMIE — A couple of cooler October nights provided a little help this week to the now 1,057 firefighting personnel battling the Mullen Fire.

Although expanding at a slower rate, the Mullen Fire had burned 118,778 acres as of 7:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s Incident Information website, https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7208/. The more heightened activity late Wednesday and most of Thursday was toward the south and southeast, across the Wyoming-Colorado border.

“The Mullen Fire has been less active, due to high nighttime humidity recovery,” the Forest Service update stated. “Fire behavior is expected to increase as (Thursday) becomes warmer and drier, but the duration of that peak fire activity is expected to be shorter.”

Firefighters were preparing to conduct burnout operations to reduce the chance of fire spread in several places around the area. The south flank has been an area of concern along Colorado Highway 127 and Wyoming Highway 230, prompting burnouts on the north side of those roads. It is an area fire managers from the Incident 2 Rocky Mountain Area Blue Team hope to prevent further advance of the fire southeast through Wyoming and into Larimer County in Colorado. Crews are also aided by large fleet of firefighting aircraft.

The fire spread potential remains high as active burning continues to consume dead and down fuels, and winds continue out of the west and northwest.

Increased cloud cover is expected in advance of a cold front, but could produce winds with gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour ahead of the front.

Structure protection efforts remain a high priority for several mountain communities already impacted and near the fire perimeter. The Albany County Sheriff’s Office reported on Wednesday that 29 homes and 31 other structures or outbuildings were lost in the fire in the Keystone, Lake Creek and Foxborough communities.

It was the first significant damage assessment that could be conducted safely since the fire started Sept. 17.

The two-week-old blaze started in the Savage Run Wilderness of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. The cause is suspected to be from human activity and is still under investigation.

Forest Service law enforcement officers released a statement a week ago asking for the public’s help with the investigation. Anyone with firsthand knowledge of activity occurring on the eastern area of Savage Run Wilderness in the South Mullen Creek drainage is asked to call the anonymous tip line, 307-745-2392.

There has been no change in current evacuation areas, with ongoing firefighting actions focusing on direct and indirect fire line construction, structure triage, structure prep and point protection at 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.

Protection of Rob Roy Reservoir remains a high priority, as it is a substantial water source for the city of Cheyenne. Another area of value noted as a priority is the Wyoming Infrared Observatory, owned and operated by the University of Wyoming on Jelm Mountain.

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