Sunday Evening Mullen Fire Update: Lower Temps, Higher Humidity Slowing Growth of Fire

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Mullen Fire Operations Brief – Sunday, September 27th

Below is the Mullen Fire Operations Brief from Chris Zoller, Operations Section Chief, RMA Blue Team for Sunday, September 27th. This evening at 5 p.m. the Team will host a Live Q&A on Facebook.

Posted by Mullen Fire Information on Sunday, September 27, 2020

UPDATE AT 7 P.M. SUNDAY:

Although the fire continues to rage, decreased winds, cooler temperatures and rising humidity levels managed to keep it from growing significantly in acreage, at least for a while.

This was just one of the updates provided in the virtual community meeting on Sunday afternoon by the Rocky Mountain Incident Management team, which was livestreamed on Facebook.

The fire’s size was estimated to be at nearly 77,000 acres as of Sunday evening, Rocky Mountain Incident Managment member Chris Zoller said during the update.

“Overall today, everything was quite subdued compared to yesterday,” Zoller said. “Winds are quite a bit less than what we saw yesterday and we actually received some moisture.”

While the temperatures kept the fire at bay on Sunday, this is expected to reverse sometime this week, meaning that the fire could again grow.

The fire is still at 2% containment, one week after this originally happened.

More than 450 people are currently working to combat the fire as of Sunday.

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Although there hasn’t been much good news as of yet regarding the Mullen Fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest, there was at least better news on Sunday.

In Sunday morning’s incident update, the official size of the fire was not expanded, remaining at 68,138 acres.

Chris Zoller, Operations Section Chief for the Rocky Mountain Area Blue Team, said the next two days should see slower fire growth because of the favorable weather.

“Our projections are showing not a lot of movement because we’ve got some cooler temperatures and some higher humidities,” Zoller said. “We hopefully won’t see the large growth that we’ve seen in the last couple days.”

Zoller said the peak wind gusts have dropped dramatically from the more than over 70 mph seen Saturday to around 35 mph.

The Blue Team reported in its daily Incident Update that firefighters had success on Saturday holding off the fire in many locations, including the Rambler community, and stopped it from advancing further toward Rob Roy Reservoir.

As for fire growth Sunday, because of the changing direction of the winds, the fire was expected to grow to the south and southeast.

From the Incident Update:

On the southwest flank, fire extended a short distance over the North Platte River, and firefighters promptly began working to prevent more growth. On the northeast, fire crossed the Fox Creek road and moved into the Squirrel Burn area, prompting another Forest closure.

The lower portion of the fire continued pushing beyond Lake Owen to Fox Creek Road. 

The leading edge slowed as it entered a previously burned area, then crossed WY 230 in a position to threaten Woods Landing and Jelm. 

With wind gusts reaching 70 mph at times, fire managers recommended a mandatory evacuation of multiple communities in Albany County. (See list below.)

Today, firefighters focus on protecting structures in two ways. Ahead of the fire, they are assessing and preparing structures for the possible advance of the fire as the wind shifts and the fire moves to the southeast. 

Behind the flaming front, firefighters are entering communities as quickly as possible to perform structure protection actions. Damage assessment information is not yet available. Aerial support will continue as weather conditions allow. 

Task Forces of additional firefighters from multiple Wyoming fire departments have arrived to assist crews. 

Mandatory Evacuations

See the Albany County Sheriff FB page for the latest list at: https://www.facebook.com/Albany-County-Sheriffs-Office-618424944997540

East of HWY 11 along Sheep Mountain, from Fox Creek Road, North to Hecht Creek. The communities of Lake Creek, Rambler, Rob Roy area, Wold, Beehive, Pelton Creek Mountain Home, Graham and adjacent areas, Fox Park, Foxborough, Albany, Woods Landing. EVERYTHING along HWY 10 to the Colorado State Line.  

Areas near Sheep Landing to Lake Hattie Reservoir and NORTH of HWY230. Fox Creek Road including areas west of HWY 11 south of the Middle Fork Canyon. Keystone Communities: Keystone Proper, Lower Keystone, Langford/Ricker, Moore’s Gulch, 507C Cabin grouping

Centennial remains on pre-evacuation

Closures and Restrictions

Wyoming 11 is closed between Wyoming 130 and Albany. Wyoming 230 is closed from Wyoming 10 to the Colorado border. There is no estimate on when these roads might reopen.

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