CHEYENNE, Wyo. — More cooperative weather and 22,000 gallons of water; that’s what it took to hold the Mullen Fire at bay yesterday. Still, it grew some and no progress was made on containment.
It was a good day yesterday on the Mullen Fire but hot, windy conditions forecast for the next few days could change everything. Scattered showers are forecast today but they come with the potential for 35 mph wind gusts.
Firefighters hammered the blaze with an aerial assault Tuesday. Helicopters delivered more than 22,000 gallons of water that supported the work of firefighters on the ground by cooling the fire’s edge and slowing its rate of spread.
Fixed-wing aircraft, including CL-415 scoopers and smaller scooping aircraft called “fire bosses” were also used on the east side of the fire in the Rambler area.
Fire managers assigned personnel and other resources to focus on values at risk, specifically the evacuated communities of Rambler and Keystones, as well as Lake Creek, the Rob Roy Reservoir area, and infrastructure of the City of Cheyenne water supply.
A structure protection group is in place at each community, clearing brush and installing sprinkler systems to prepare structures for possible fire progression to those areas. Engines and hand crews are working on the western edge to secure the fire perimeter to prevent spread to the west onto private property.
In other areas, fire managers are scouting the terrain for opportunities where firefighters can be successful in slowing fire progression.
The fire grew slightly over the past 24 hours to 14,653 acres. A Type 2 team is now in place, headed by Jared Hohn of the Rocky Mountain Area Blue Team. Hohn has some 185 personnel at his disposal.
Containment remains at 2%. The estimated date of full containment is not until snow flies this November.
Mandatory evacuations remain in place for the communities of Lake Creek, Rambler, Rob Roy, as well as Keystone communities including Keystone proper, lower Keystone, Langford/Ricker, Moore’s Gulch, and the 507C cabin grouping.
Pre-evacuation is 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.
Wyoming Game and Fish has also issued an immediate closure of Lake Hattie to all boaters. Temporarily restricted watercraft access is necessary to allow several specialized aircraft to collect water from the lake to help with the Mullen Fire suppression efforts.
The aircraft, commonly called Super Scoopers, are fixed-wing aircraft that fly at high rates of speed—approximately 100 mph—just above the surface of a lake or reservoir. These aircraft can scoop up large amounts of water into a tank in the ‘belly’ of the plane. The aircraft can collect as much as 1,600 gallons of water in about ten seconds. These planes expedite the time it takes to load water and strategically make water drops on fires in nearby.
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