Wyoming wildfires chilled over the weekend but still smoldering

JACKSON, Wyo. — The holiday weekend is just what the doctor ordered on several fire fronts across Wyoming.

The state’s largest fire in recent memory, the Mullen Fire, was subdued greatly by lower temperatures and increased humidity on Sunday. Firefighters were able to make progress shoring up the northeast line where hopes are to save Albany and Centennial from fire damage.

The fire is now an estimated 175,564 acres with 27% containment. A Type 1 team with 1,214 personnel is attached to the fire.

Weekend progress

Containment has increased on the western edge down around the Colorado portion of the fire.

Fire on the north edge continues to progress slowly due to northwest winds. On the southeast side, firefighters are prepared for spot fires. Firefighters are prioritizing control of fire spread in the finger at Woods Landing.

Active fire continues north of Albany. Bulldozers and aerial retardant have created a line between the fire edge and Centennial to keep the fire in check to the Middle Creek area. Fire progression towards Centennial is not expected but firefighters are getting structure protection ready as a fallback measure in case winds shift. Structure protection is also being prepared for Ryan Park. The community cleanup of brush will help firefighters protect structures.

Structure protection continues in the Rambler and Keystone areas. The fire has not moved much around Rambler. Most of the fire’s growth yesterday was west of Keystone where the pocket of unburned forest is expected to close over the next day or so.

Hwy 10 has reopened and the mandatory evacuation along Hwy 10 has been changed to pre-evacuation. This includes Woods Landing and Jelm south to Colorado. Residents of these areas can access their property but need to remain ready to evacuate quickly if conditions change. The power company is assessing this area to restore power.

Hwy 230 remains closed westbound near Woods Landing. Boswell Creek Road is closed where it enters National Forest. All other closures and evacuations remain.

Mullen Fire map 10-12

Today’s ‘firecast’

Winds out of the southwest 25-35 mph with gusts to 50 mph becoming west-southwest after noon. High in the 50s.

Temperatures remain in the 40s, but strong winds will continue. This week remains cool but firefighters will start to lose some of the moisture from the atmosphere. Not only will most of the clouds exit into Monday, but afternoon relative humidity values drop back into the 20-30% range.

Strong winds will continue to be the main weather concern through Wednesday. At this point, the strongest winds are forecasted to develop Tuesday night and continue through the day Wednesday. Then next cold front should remain mostly dry as it crosses Wednesday, with winds remain strong and switching out of the northwest.

On the ‘to do’ list

Firefighters will take advantage of the precipitation to construct and shore up indirect, alternate, and contingency fireline in order to protect the Centennial community.

Incident-wide point protection for all structures and other values at risk by specifically designated structure protection groups will continue. Coordination with cooperating law enforcement agencies and utility groups in assessment of lifting evacuations by taking strategic approach re-entry based on a set of criteria.

Since crossing the state line on September 30, there still exists the possibility the Mullen Fire hooks up with the Cameron Peak Fire. Southern expansion has advanced the Mullen in close proximity to the still active Cameron Peak Fire in Colorado. The two fires remain 25 miles apart.

Pilgrim Creek Fire

All personnel and gear assigned to the Pilgrim Creek Fire was pulled out last Friday, October 9 in anticipation of cold, wet weather.

A reconnaissance flight Friday mapped the updated perimeter at 488 total acres. Fire activity continues to be on the northeast corner as prevailing winds take the blaze toward Bobcat Ridge and the west and east forks of Whetstone Creek.

A fire monitoring update is expected today.

An increase in wind speeds before the forecasted weather front moving into the area the next few days, will heighten fire weather concerns and the need for fire prevention safety. Fire managers continue to discuss fire restrictions and when is the right time to remove the regulations.

A closure order was signed by Bridger-Teton NF supervisor Tricia O’Connor prohibiting anyone from being in the Pilgrim Creek Area.

Further information regarding this closure may be obtained at Blackrock Ranger District office in Moran, Wyoming, telephone number (307) 543-2386.

Pilgrim Creek Fire map 10-9
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