CASPER, Wyo –The Mullen Fire burning in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest 40 miles southwest of Laramie has left the southeast Wyoming region under a widespread haze.
The National Weather Service in Cheyenne says poor air quality is likely to remain for the weekend, with a reprieve possible on Sunday as smoke diverting south of Cheyenne. Ash continues to fall on the town of Laramie, according to U.S. Forest officials.
The Mullen Creek fire began mid-day on Thursday, Sept. 17 in the Savage Run Wilderness of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. The cause is still under investigation, but the U.S. Forest service said evidence existed that it was human-caused.
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It has grown to 69,138 acres, incident command spokesman John Peterson told Oil City News Saturday afternoon, doubling again in size since Friday. It is only 2% contained, according the latest information from Rocky Mountain Blue Team’s Incident Command’s regularly updated page.
Red Flag conditions since Wednesday have driven the fire’s spread east on 2 fronts, prompting evacuations, and highway closures. It has also reached the Rob Roy Reservoir, the source of 50-75% of the city of Cheyenne’s municipal water supply.
An air quality alert in effect from the the National Weather Service for Eastern Carbon County, Laramie County and southern half of Albany County is in effect until noon Sunday.
426 total personnel are on scene, according to Rocky Mountain Blue Team Incident Management. Incident command has said there is a “critical shortage” of personnel and resources due to the large number of fires burning in the west.
Natrona County Fire District’s Fire Captain Darek Pepple, firefighter Derek Higgins and firefighter Chris Weaver are with Division Tango working structure protection near the evacuated Keystone community.