LARAMIE – The Mullen Fire burning in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest southwest of Centennial and Laramie is quickly on the move again.
The fire, which remains at 2% containment, grew substantially in a 24-hour period from 14,653 acres at 6 p.m. Wednesday to 17,763 acres at about 6 p.m. Thursday, according to an evening fire update on U.S. Forest Service’s Incident Information website: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7208/.
A virtual community meeting hosted by fire incident personnel is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday, with links to the meeting announced after it’s set up.
The Mullen Fire became more active both night and day because of increased wind, warmer temperatures and lower humidity. The activity picked up with southwest winds strengthening and gusts of 40 miles per hour. The critical fire weather is expected to remain through Saturday, with stronger winds ahead of a cold front arriving later in the weekend.
The fuels in extremely rugged terrain consisting of dense vegetation and live, blowdown and beetle-killed deadfall lodgepole pine trees are also contributing factors to increased fire activity.
Fingers of the fire crossed Forest Service Road 500 to the northeast on Thursday. In another area, it has entered the Keystone Fire burn scar, impacting Forest Service Road 512. The southeast part of the fire is also turning to the northeast.
Carbon Power and Light has turned off electricity to evacuated areas west of the community of Albany for the safety of firefighters, which has increased to a total of 290 personnel.
Areas still under mandatory evacuations include: Lake Creek community; Rambler community; Rob Roy community; and the Keystone communities of Keystone proper, lower Keystone, Langford/Ricker, Moore’s Gulch and 507C cabin grouping.
A pre-evacuation notice is still in place for the Centennial Valley, including private land along Fox Creek Road, the communities of Albany and Centennial, extending northwest along Highway 130 and all areas of Highway 11. Highway 130 north of the fire is currently open.
More than 10 aerial firefighting aircraft, including a VLAT (very large airtanker), multiple LATs (large airtanker), single-engine airtankers, CL-415 scoopers and smaller scoopers (fire bosses) and helicopters have been working the fire since the early stages, protecting structures and cooling the perimeter to slow its rate of spread.
At 6 a.m. Tuesday, command of the fire was transferred to the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Blue Team. Firefighting efforts continue to prioritize public and firefighter safety and protection of nearby communities and other values at risk.
Wyoming Game and Fish also placed a temporary watercraft restriction at Lake Hattie west of Laramie because it is being used as a water source for scooper aircraft.
In addition to the Forest Service’s incident website, more information, links and messages are available via the official Forest Service Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest Twitter account, @FS_MBRTB, and on Facebook, https:// www.facebook.com/ MullenFire/.