MEDICINE BOW NATIONAL FOREST — The Mullen Fire, which is burning in the Medicine Bow National Forest, has spread to 35,810 acres but still remains at only 2% containment.
On Friday, powerful west winds, with gusts to 50 mph, caused extreme fire behavior and drove the fire far to the east. The fire is still actively burning.
No structure damage or losses have been confirmed, according to the Fire's InciWeb page. However, the fire has impacted the Lake Creek and lower Keystone communities, and firefighters have not yet been able to re-enter those areas to assess conditions.
A total of 426 personnel are working to contain the fire. Due to dangerous wind conditions, aerial firefighting was suspended at 2:00 p.m. on Friday. Ground firefighters continued an aggressive effort to protect structures.
Due to the high winds and wind direction and recommendations from the incident management team, the US Forest Service officials and Albany County government agencies expanded the forest closure and issued more mandatory evacuations. New evacuations include the Foxborough community, Fox Park to Albany South through the valley to Fox Creek Road including areas west of Highway 11 and Middle Fork Canyon, and the Woods Landing Corridor.
Mandatory evacuations announced earlier remain in place, which include the Lake Creek, Rambler, Rob Roy, and Keystone communities, with pre-evacuation notices in place for private land along Fox Creek Road, the communities of Albany and Centennial extending northwest along Highway 130, and all areas west of Highway 11 in the valley.
For the safety of firefighters, Carbon Power and Light turned off electricity to the evacuated areas west of Albany earlier in the week.
Further fire activity is expected to remain high through Saturday, as winds continue to strengthen during the passage of a strong cold front.
The Mullen Fire was reported in the Savage Run Wilderness on Thursday, Sept. 17. It spread rapidly in extremely rugged terrain, with dense vegetation and beetle-killed deadfall.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but preliminary information indicates that the fire could be human caused.
For updates on the Mullen Fire, go to inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7208.