By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The Mullen Fire in Medicine Bow National Forest has continued to grow, affecting nearly 18,000 acres as of Thursday morning.
As of Thursday, only 2% of the 17,763-acre fire had been contained, according to U.S. Forest Service reports on the agency’s wildfire tracking website “Inciweb.” The estimated date for full containment is Oct. 30.
A red flag warning was in effect from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday across the fire area as warm temperatures, strong southwest winds gusting up to 35 mph and minimum humidity was predicted to promote the growth of the fire.
Gusty winds were expected to continue all through the weekend. Critical fire weather is predicted on Friday, with continued warm and dry conditions.
Increased cloud coverage and moisture over the weekend will increase afternoon humidities over the weekend with slightly cooler temperatures in the fire area, the Forest Service said.
The current planned actions are to assess risks to to structures and to prepare for their protection. Specific areas to be targeted include structures at the Rambler subdivision, A Bar A Ranch, Keystone and additional values at risk in the fire area.
Gov. Mark Gordon made a statement on his Facebook page Thursday morning, reiterating information about the fire.
“A shift in wind direction is expected to push the fire to the northeast [Thursday],” he said. “Conditions are expected to be very challenging for fire crews today and tomorrow.”
The fire became more active on Wednesday due to increased winds, warmer temperatures and lower humidity. Fire growth was mainly in the Platte River Wilderness on the southeast side of the fire.
The movement into the wilderness was expected, so helicopters and fixed wing aircraft are working in the area to slow the fire’s progression.
The crew working the fire has grown to 290 personnel.