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Snowfall slowed spread of Mullen Fire Sunday as conditions start to dry out, wind increases

Mullen Fire_firefighters walking in smoke
Posted at 11:02 AM, Oct 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-12 13:02:39-04

One to two inches of snow fell on the Mullen Fire, which is burning in the Medicine Bow National Forest in both Wyoming and Colorado, on Sunday, which is helping firefighters ahead of this week's dry and windy conditions.

The Southern Area Incident Management Blue Team reported that the fire, which sparked Sept. 17, was 175,564 acres as of Monday morning. It grew just 29 acres overnight.

It is 27% contained.

Mullen Fire map_Oct 12 2020

Kari Fleegel, National Weather Service incident meteorologist for the Mullen Fire, said one to two inches of snow fell over the entire fire on Sunday. This helped to reduce the fire's spread.

Winds were a major concern overnight and into Monday, she said.

"We're planning for the wind not only for the rest of the day today, but especially for Wednesday," she said on Monday morning.

The winds not only cause an increase fire activity, but make living conditions hard for firefighters and prevent aircraft from attacking the blaze from above.

Fleegel said some of the yurts that fire officials are staying in are taking a beating from the wind.

Firefighters are expecting cool temperatures on Monday with falling humidity levels and little or no precipitation.

On Monday night, winds will diminish before picking up again Tuesday with some gusts around 35 to 40 mph. Winds will ramp up more Wednesday, she said.

Sunday's snow will continue to keep Monday's fire activity relatively minimal, so firefighters will continue to work directly on the fire's edge when it's safe to do so, according to the Southern Area Incident Management Blue Team.

Colorado Highway 127 from I-25 to the Wyoming border has reopened to residents, though they remain under pre-evacuation notice.

The community is welcome to join a virtual Q&A at 5 p.m. Monday on the Mullen Fire information page on Facebook.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Anybody with information on how the fire started can call the anonymous tip line at 307-745-2392.