LARAMIE – Evacuation orders and U.S. Forest Service closures were updated Friday as the Mullen Fire continued to slow its spread.
The massive fire burning in the mountainous regions of Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest less than 30 miles west and southwest of Laramie increased just 15 acres during 12 hours from 10:30 a.m. Thursday to 10:30 that night, even with strong winds in the area.
That followed a 24-period of no fire growth from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning.
According to a fact sheet released by a Southern Area Type 1 Blue Team at 11 a.m. Friday, the total acreage of the Mullen Fire was 176,386 as of 10:30 p.m. Thursday. Containment remained at 34% on the western, southern and southeastern edges of the fire perimeter.
The number of firefighters and support staff decreased to 979 on Friday – the first time the total was below 1,000 since Oct. 1.
“Firefighters continue to patrol, monitor and mop up hot spots,” the fact sheet release states. “Air operations will drop retardant on hotspots near Albany as weather permits. Contingency lines continue to be constructed near Centennial.”
Wyoming Highway 230 from Woods Landing to the Colorado border was opened to all traffic.
Several communities were also changed from mandatory evacuation to pre-evacuation (be ready if conditions change) with only residents allowed access to their private property. Those areas were Wycolo, Mountain Home, Ox Yoke, Wold, Graham and Beehive.
All other evacuation and pre-evacuation orders from the last few weeks remain in place.
The Forest Service also updated its forest closure orders that includes all roads and trails to ensure the protection of public and fire personnel during operations for the Mullen Fire. It will remain in effect until rescinded.
For complete details and description of the forest closure area, a PDF can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd812367.pdf.
For a PDF map of the closure area, see https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd812366.pdf.
The Mullen Fire started on Sept. 17 in the Savage Run Wilderness in the South Mullen Creek drainage. It is still being investigated and is suspected of being human caused. The Laramie Ranger District anonymous tip line is 307-745-2392.