Tuesday: Mullen Fire reaches 161,069 acres, testing defenses around community structures - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Tuesday: Mullen Fire reaches 161,069 acres, testing defenses around community structures

Mullen Fire (Melanie Johnson, Mullen Fire Information, Facebook)

CASPER, Wyo — The Mullen Fire grew to 161,069 acres Monday, Oct 5. according to the latest report Tuesday by Southern Area Type 1 Blue Team Incident Command.

The team took over command at 7:00 am Tuesday from the Rocky Mountain Blue Type II Team that had completed its 14-day tour on the fire. Over 1,100 firefighters are on the scene.

Mullen Fire perimeter 10/5 at 11:30 pm (Southern Area Blue Team, Inciweb)

Fire activity Monday was described as “very aggressive,” according to Tuesday’s report.

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One area of concern in recent days has been the communities along Wyo- 230 between the highway and the Mullen Fire’s southeastern spread. Red flag conditions the last two days have meant that fuels on the ground stay dry throughout the night and burn readily early in the day.

Parts of the Rocky Mountain Team had spent 10 days installing water pumps and sprinklers, digging line, and cutting and hauling away fuels around the structures ahead of the Mullen Fire’s arrival. Those lines of defense were “tested” the last 2 days.

Mullen Fire perimeter 10/5 at 11:30 pm (Southern Area Blue Team, Inciweb)

Crews had also been burning the available fuels along the highway in this “critical area” to widen it as a control feature. More abundant fuels lie south of the highway in the Routt national forest, about 30 miles northwest of the Cameron Peak Fire.

Cast-off embers carried by a northwest wind have persistently established small spot fires on the southwest side of the highway, U.S. Forest Service Spokesman John Peterson said. There were over a 100 on Sunday and a dozen Monday, he said, but crews are able to address them with the help of aerial infrared technology.

Fire in the northern branch became active again the last 2 days after a period of minimal activity. It grew north in the area of South French Creek on Monday, Peterson said. Crews have been digging indirect containment line northeast of this spread and assessing Middle Creek, Centennial, and areas along the Highway 130 corridor for defensive planning.

The latest evacuation and pre-evacuation orders are available on Inciweb.

Mullen Fire perimeter 10/5 at 11:30 pm (Southern Area Blue Team, Inciweb)

It also grew in some areas south of Rambler subdivision near the Rob Roy Reservoir, where more burn operations, structure protection, and dozer lines have been installed over the past 14 days. Aircraft are assisting ground operations. The fire is “steady and in place” south of the reservoir and around Keystone.

“The fire was also very active in the area between Albany and Keystone, spotting out ahead of the main fire. Firefighters were successful in catching these spots,” Tuesday’s update said. Crews are also working to complete a continuous line of burn-and-dozer line from Albany to Keystone.

Mullen Fire perimeter 10/5 at 11:30 pm (Southern Area Blue Team, Inciweb)

An air quality alert due to smoke from wildfires in in effect in Laramie, Platte, Goshen and Albany Counties along with portions of Carbon and Converse County.

The NWS in Cheyenne says the air quality alert is in effect through at least noon Wednesday.

Smoke report (U.S. Forest Service)
Red areas denote the Mullen Fire’s growth Sunday, Oct. 4 (U.S. Forest Service, Inciweb)