LARAMIE — The Mullen Fire increased in size to 14,653 acres and is now taking aim at the Platte River Wilderness with activity picking up as of Wednesday evening.
According to the U.S. Forest Service’s Incident Information website for the fire, https://inciweb.nwcg. gov/incident/7208/, the fire southwest of Centennial in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest was becoming more active because of increased wind, warmer temperatures and lower humidity.
The weather forecast is approaching critical, causing a high spread potential of active fire behavior because of strong, gusty winds, southwest/ west/northwest winds, very low humidity and above-average temperatures.
The fuels in extremely rugged terrain consisting of dense vegetation and live, blowdown and beetle-kille deadfall lodgepole pine tree are also contributing factors to increased fire activity.
Fire growth on Wednesday was mainly in the Platte River Wilderness on the southeast side of the fire, which was expected. Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft were working suppression efforts in that area.
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.
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.
Firefighting personnel was increased to 185 and are working the fire assessing structures in evacuated areas nearest the fire, and preparing defenses to protect those structures. Some firefighters are
being assigned to a night shift to continue operations because of active fire behavior after dark.
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.
The Wyoming Game and Fish also placed a temporary watercraft restriction Wednesday at Lake Hattie west of Laramie because it is being used as a water source for the 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_MBRT