Latest Updates: Mullen Fire containment up to 55%

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The Mullen Fire. Credit: US Forest Service

JACKSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Mullen Fire started Sept. 17 in Medicine Bow National Forest southwest of Centennial, Wyoming. It has since grown to an estimated 176,386 acres. As of Sunday, 931 people are assigned to fighting it.

Below are the latest updates on the fire:

UPDATE (Oct. 18, 5:25 p.m.): Officials hosted a final Q & A session on Facebook. The resident meteorologist said some precipitation has helped with the fire but will get back to warm and dry on Tuesday/Wednesday.

John Wallace, Operations Section Chief of the Southern Area Blue Team, said some snowfall helped but he believes it will take a significant snow event to finish off the fire. He said the weather is the main focus of the complexity of the incident.

The Southern Area Blue Team will be leaving the fire and management will go to the US Forest Service.

UPDATE (Oct. 17, 12:42 p.m.): The Mullen Fire’s growth has been slower than that of the Cameron Peak Fire to its southeast.

Officials said “very windy” conditions are presenting a challenge to firefighters today. However, a front will bring light rain and snow to the fire area tonight through tomorrow.

As of today, containment is estimated at 53%.

UPDATE (Oct. 13, 10:53 p.m.): Containment of the fire has increased to 34%.

Snow fell on the fire yesterday, helping to reduce its activity and slow its progression.

Strong winds and light precipitation is expected tomorrow as a cold front moves into the region.

“In some interior parts of the forest, fire is burning into the deep duff organic layer, creating holes. This type of fire will require a lot of moisture to extinguish,” officials said in an update.

UPDATE (Oct. 10, 12:56 p.m.): Crews are dealing with “critical fire weather conditions” today, officials said in an update.

While relative humidity will be slightly higher, there will be windy conditions and temperatures will remain well above average.

A cold front is expected to bring light rain and snow to the area on Sunday.

Despite continued challenges, firefighters managed to increase containment to 21%.

The number of people assigned to fighting the fire has grown to a total of 1,254.

UPDATE (Oct. 8, 9:45 p.m.): The fire spread significantly during the last day. Current acreage is estimated at roughly 171,000 — up approximately 9,000 from the previous estimate.

More warm, dry weather is forecast for Friday. However, a cold front arrives late Saturday, dropping temperatures 25 degrees and brining a possibility of snow to higher elevations.

According to officials, 1,186 people are assigned to fighting the fire.

UPDATE (Oct. 7, 9:28 p.m.): The fire grew slightly to the northeast and east during the last 24 hours.

Officials said that despite challenging firefighting conditions, containment has remained at 14%.

More warm, dry weather is expected tomorrow.

“Thursday will continue to be warm and dry with increasing winds from the southwest to west and gusts to 30 mph.  The relative humidity will remain low at around 10%,” officials said in an update.

UPDATE (Oct. 6, 11 p.m.): A Type 1 team has taken command of the fire. They spent yesterday working with the Type 2 team to transition control.

Crews are dealing with challenging firefighting conditions which are expected to last through the end of this week.

“Warm, dry, and windy conditions produced critical fire weather that yielded fire perimeter growth mainly on the northwest and then on the east central perimeter of the fire once the winds shifted out of the northwest,” officials said in an update.

A cold front arrives in the region on Sunday.

UPDATE (Oct. 6, 10:35 a.m.): According to Information Officer John Peterson, the fire backed out in the north into French Creek due to west moving winds yesterday.

The southern part of the fire along Highway 127 is looking very good, Peterson said. They haven’t put it containment yet but the 3-way where 125 meets 127 containment line is also looking very good. Peterson said they are comfortable with the west edge of the fire.

UPDATE (Oct. 5, 11:19 p.m.): The fire has grown to 161,964 acres after a day of high fire activity. The fire grew to the north in the area of South French Creek, and in the area south of Rambler near the Rob Roy Reservoir.

The fire was also very active in the area between Albany and Keystone. Crews worked in the southeast part of the fire to catch up with several spotfires that had started on the east side of Colorado Highway 127 as a result of strong winds from the northwest.

The Southern Area Blue Team will assume command of the fire from the Rocky Mountain Blue Team tomorrow.

UPDATE (Oct. 5, 10:15 a.m.): Data from an infrared flight overnight shows that the fire has grown to 151,700 acres.

Yesterday, firefighters conducted burn operations in several locations around the perimeter to strengthen existing fire lines.

Today, a Red Flag day, is likely to have high smoke production and the fire is expected to spread to the east as fuel within the perimeter is consumed.

UPDATE (Oct. 4, 10:30 p.m.): The fire is burning 147,127 acres with containment at 14% and 1,104 personnel working on it.

Officials say there was high fire activity today. Good burning conditions resulted in large amounts of smoke which spread east into the Laramie Valley.

UPDATE (Oct. 4, 10:45 a.m.): Authorities report the fire is 11% contained.

They state, “For public and firefighter safety, evacuations will remain in effect until conditions change or risks are reduced.”

UPDATE (Oct. 3, 9:53 p.m.): The Sheriff reported no lost structures as of today, and Highway 125 North is open for travel tonight.

UPDATE (Oct. 3, 2:24 p.m.): The fire has grown more than 8,000 acres since yesterday to a total of 136,840. The majority of the fire area is in Wyoming. The largest wildfire ever recorded fully within Colorado is the Pine Gulch Fire, which burned 139,007 acres and is now 100% contained.

“Mild weather and the influx of resources are allowing firefighters to aggressively attack the fire using strategic aerial and ground firing operations. Fire crews are working along roads and accessible areas to reduce vegetation where they have the highest probability of success at limiting fire spread,” officials said in an update.

Firefighters established structure protection in Ramber, the Rob Roy area, Keystone, Lake Creek, Fox Park and Albany.

Next, crews will focus on structure protection in communities to the west of Wyoming Highway 230 and south into Colorado. Note that Wyoming Highway 230 changes into Colorado Highway 125 at the state line.

UPDATE (Oct. 2, 10:54 p.m.): The fire grew more than 1,000 acres today to 128,738 total. However, containment also increased from 0% to 6%.

Smoke from the fire has contributed to an Air Quality Warning for much of the Front Range (including metro Denver), which is in effect until 4 p.m. Saturday.

More favorable firefighting conditions are expected tomorrow, with cooler temperatures and higher humidity levels.

UPDATE (Oct. 1, 11:22 p.m.): Larimer County authorities have updated evacuation information.

On Wednesday, mandatory evacuation orders were issued for the Roach and Hohnholz areas.

On Thursday, firefighting officials lifted the voluntary evacuation for County Road 44H from County Road 27 to Pennock Pass.

“Residents returning to the area should use caution as fire crews will remain in the area,” the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said in a notice to residents.

The latest mapping data show the fire is very close to Larimer County but has not yet entered it.

ORIGINAL STORY FROM SEPT. 30:

Authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders Wednesday afternoon as the large Mullen Fire in Wyoming approached Colorado.

According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the evacuation orders are for all residents north of the junction of Highways 125 and 127, also known as “3-Way.”

The area was placed under a pre-evacuation notice earlier Wednesday.

The Roach and Hohnholz areas in northwest Larimer County are also under mandatory evacuation orders due to “immediate and imminent danger,” according to the Larimer County’s Sheriff’s Office.

As of Wednesday morning, the fire was still 3 miles north of the Colorado state line. It is unclear if the fire had crossed into Colorado as of the afternoon.

The following roads are also closed, according to the U.S. Forest Service:

Wyoming Highway 230 from Riverside to the Colorado state line (Colorado Highway 125).

Wyoming Highway 230 between the Colorado state line (Colorado Highway 127) and Woods Landing (mile marker 27)

Wyoming Highway 11 between Albany and where it connects to Wyoming Highway 130

Wyoming Highway 10 between the Colorado state line (Colorado Highway 103) and where it connects to Wyoming Highway 230 (near Jelm)

The fire started Sept. 17 in Medicine Bow National Forest southwest of Centennial, Wyoming. It has since grown to an estimated 96,757 acres. As of Wednesday, 887 people are assigned to fighting it.

The cause of the wildfire is under investigation.

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