Rain and snow slow Mullen and Cameron Peak Fires in Colorado and Wyoming

Very strong, dry winds, and sun are in the forecast

October 11, 2020   |   10:44 p.m. MDT

Big Laramie Volunteer Fire Department Station 4
Photo by Big Laramie Volunteer Fire Department Station 4, in Wyoming near the Mullen Fire.

Rain and snow hit portions of three fires in north-central Colorado Sunday slowing the spread of the Cameron Peak, Middle Fork, and Mullen Fires.

The Mullen Fire which extends across the state line into Wyoming had received one-half to two inches of snow by mid-afternoon Sunday in the higher elevations. The fire has burned 175,535 acres in the two states.

To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Cameron Peak Fire, including the most recent, click here.

The 134,559-acre Cameron Peak Fire, which burned up to the Colorado State University Mountain Campus, received about one inch of snow in the higher elevations.

A weather station near the 17,832-acre Middle Fork Fire north of Steamboat Springs recorded 0.07″ of precipitation Sunday.

Precipitation October 9 through 11, 2020
Precipitation October 11, 2020 through 10 p.m. MDT.

Strong winds are in the forecast for the area through Wednesday. The temperature in the higher elevations of the Mullen Fire will reach about 20 degrees or lower Sunday night. The forecast for Cowdrey, Colorado near the Mullen Fire calls for mostly sunny skies Monday through Wednesday, high temperatures around 60, relative humidity of 20 percent, and afternoon winds gusting at 30 to 50 mph out of the west and southwest.

A small amount of rain or snow is unlikely to completely put out these fires which are mostly burning in timber. It will be interesting to see how much the fuels dry out in the next three days with very strong winds, sun, and low humidities.


UPDATE at 12:10 p.m. MDT October 12, 2020. The satellite photo below shows snow in the mountains of north-central Colorado at 10:56 a.m. MDT October 12, 2020.

Colorado snow mountains fires
Satellite photo showing snow in the mountains of north-central Colorado at 10:56 a.m. MDT October 12, 2020.
Cameron Peak Fire snow
Cameron Peak Fire still burns with snow on the ground, October 11, 2020. Incident Management Team photo.
CSU campus status fire
President of Colorado State University

Mullen Fire reaches Albany, Wyoming

Updates on the Middle Fork and Cameron Peak fires in Colorado

Updated October 8, 2020   |   7:53 a.m. MDT

map of the Mullen Fire
The red line was the perimeter of the Mullen Fire at 8:30 p.m. MDT October 6, 2020. The white line was the perimeter two days before.

The Mullen Fire has been active on the east and northeast sides and reached the small community of Albany, Wyoming on Highway 11. The fire grew to the east and is now on both sides of the highway. Firefighters have been working to protect structures in Albany, the Wyoming Infrared Observatory, and the Rob Roy reservoir which is the main water source for the city of Cheyenne, WY.

The incident management team reported October 7 that 32 residences and 33 other structures have been destroyed.

Albany County crews established and strengthened indirect fire lines to slow the potential spread towards Centennial which is six miles north of the fire.

The Mullen Fire has burned 170,996 acres, according to the Incident Management Team Thursday morning. The weather forecast through Saturday could be troublesome for firefighters — breezy conditions and low relative humidity. The wind will be generally out of the west or southwest at 8 to 14 mph with the humidity in the teens. There is a slight chance of a small amount of rain Sunday but that will come with 20 mph winds gusting out of the west at 29 mph.

The resources assigned include 14 hand crews, 116 engines, and 16 helicopters, for a total of 1,079 personnel.

Firefighters on the Mullen Fire
Firefighters on the Mullen Fire hike to their assignment Oct. 5, 2020. Photo by Josh Shroyer.

 

The Cameron Peak Fire has been much less active than the Mullen Fire, and has been mapped at 129,055 acres. The incident management team reported October 7 that 27 residences and 30 other structures have been destroyed.

The 11,005-acre Middle Fork Fire 7 miles north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado was very active Tuesday and Wednesday on the south, west, and north sides. As of Wednesday evening the resources assigned, according to the national situation report, included no hand crews or engines, and 4 helicopters, for a total of 70 personnel. Two structures are threatened.

Fires in Colorado & Wyoming Oct. 7, 2020.
Fires in Colorado & Wyoming Oct. 7, 2020.

Firefighters dealing with strong winds on the Mullen Fire

An interstate fire in Wyoming and Colorado, 25 air miles southwest of Laramie, WY

Progression of Mullen Fire, Oct. 5, 2020
Progression of Mullen Fire, Oct. 5, 2020. Situation Unit Leader, Sonya Feaster.

Monday afternoon update from the Incident Management Team for the 151,711-acre Mullen fire in Wyoming and Colorado, 25 air miles southwest of Laramie, WY:

“The fire is very active in the northern part south of Centennial between Albany and Keystone along the 542 road. Strong afternoon winds from the west are hampering firefighters efforts as they try to keep the fire south of the road. A predicted shift to bring winds more from the northwest could prove helpful in this effort.

“The fire will continue to produce smoke and possibly large visible smoke columns Monday afternoon.

“The Southern Area Type 1 Incident Management Team is shadowing the Rocky Mountain Blue Team this afternoon to ensure a smooth transition of leadership Tuesday morning at 6:00 a.m.”

Mullen Fire
Mullen Fire. USFS photo.
Mullen Fire, night firing
Mullen Fire, night firing, October 1, 2020, by Zach Alexander.

To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Mullen Fire, including the most recent, click here.

Mullen Fire spreads from Wyoming into Colorado

Evacuations are in effect

October 2, 2020   |   7:57 a.m. MDT

Map of the Mullen Fire
Map of the Mullen Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 12:15 a.m. MDT October 2, 2020. The white line was the perimeter about 48 hours before.

The Mullen Fire that started September 17 in Wyoming 12 miles north of the Colorado border has spread south into Colorado. At 12:15 a.m. Friday a mapping flight determined it had progressed to the intersection of Colorado Highways 127 and 125 about four miles north of Cowdrey. Firefighters are conducting strategic firing operations along portions of Highway 127 and Wyoming Highway 230 to protect structures.

In Colorado the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has ordered evacuations for “the east side of Jackson County Road 8 along the eastern range north to the sand dunes following up to Highway 127, and along Jackson County Road 6E.” The most current information is on CodeRED and on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Mullen Fire, including the most recent, click here.

On Thursday the incident management team reported that the Mullen Fire had burned 118,778 acres. After an overnight mapping flight the team may add another 8,000 to 9,000 acres to that figure. (Update at 12:56 p.m. October 2: the incident management team updated the size to 127,503 acres.)

Forecast for wildfire smoke Colorado
Forecast for wildfire smoke in the Colorado area at 8 p.m. MDT October 2, 2020

The Mullen Fire is producing large quantities of smoke that has been pushed to the south and southeast. On Friday it is predicted to heavily affect Rocky Mountain National Park, Boulder, and Denver.

The fire area is under a Red Flag Warning Friday. The forecast for the southern portion of the fire calls for a high temperature of 62, relative humidity of 16 percent, and winds from the west and northwest at 13 to 16 mph. Conditions will be similar on Saturday, with slightly stronger winds and slightly higher humidity.

The 125,271-acre Cameron Peak Fire, 26 miles southwest of the Mullen Fire, has been growing much more slowly than the Mullen Fire in recent days.

Map of the Mullen and Cameron Peak Fires
Map of the Mullen and Cameron Peak Fires, October 2, 2020.
Mullen Fire smoke
An air tanker maneuvers over the Mullen Fire Sept. 30, 2020. It is either a BAe-146 or an RJ 85. InciWeb photo.

Incident Management Team ordered for the Neiber Fire south of Worland, WY

(UPDATED at 12:57 p.m. MDT July 17, 2020)

Neiber Fire wind forecast map Worland Wyoming
Neiber Fire wind forecast, July 17, 2020.

Over the last two days the primary growth of the Neiber Fire  13 miles south-southeast of Worland, Wyoming has been to the southeast, pushed by winds out of the northwest. The map above shows the predicted wind direction for Friday.

Neiber Fire map Wyoming Worland
Neiber Fire map showing heat detected by satellites as late as 1 p.m. MDT July 16, 2020.

Thursday evening information from the Type 3 Incident Management Team indicated it had burned 17,545 acres of private and BLM managed land, an increase of almost 10,000 acres in two days.

The Neiber Fire is spreading through brush and short grass and is threatening facilities in the Murphy Dome Oil Field.


(Originally published at 7:10 p.m. MDT July 15, 2020)

map Neiber Fire Wyoming Worland
The map shows heat detected on the Neiber Fire by satellites at 2:06 p.m. MDT July 15, 2020.

In the 24 hours since the Neiber Fire was reported Tuesday afternoon, by 4 p.m. Wednesday it had grown to 7,800 acres according to the Bureau of Land Management. The fire is in Pistol Draw .

A Type 3 Incident Management Team has been ordered. The firefighters on the ground, including the Palouse hand crew from Idaho and the Black Hats from South Dakota, are being assisted by a DC-10 very large air tanker, large air tankers, single engine air tankers, and helicopters.

We will update this article as more information becomes available.

Neiber Fire Wyoming Worland
Neiber Fire. BLM photo.

Lost Creek Fire burns hundreds of acres west of Cody, WY

23 miles east of Yellowstone’s east entrance

3-D map of the Lost Creek Fire
3-D map of the Lost Creek Fire east of Yellowstone National Park, based on a mapping flight at 2:36 a.m. MDT June 14, 2020.

The Lost Creek Fire in northwest Wyoming had burned 591 acres when a mapping aircraft overflew the fire at 2:36 Sunday morning. The blaze is on the south side of Highway 14/16/20, 23 miles west of Cody and 23 miles east of Yellowstone National Park’s east entrance. It was reported at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday.

Sunday morning the resources assigned or working on the fire included two Type 1 hand crews, multiple engines, two heavy air tankers, three single engine air tankers, two Type 1 helicopters, and one Type 3 helicopter. The Bill Cody Ranch and Rimrock Dude Ranch remain under an evacuation order.

A public meeting will be held at 5:00 p.m. Sunday at the Sheep Mountain Day Use Area of Buffalo Bill State Park. Due to ongoing health concerns, fire managers are asking the public to limit attendance to those directly impacted, and to limit the number of people per household that attend.

Restricting the number of attendees makes sense, but is certainly a change from the pre-COVID policy. It could be helpful if it were also live-streamed and available on the internet.

So far there has been no report of the highway being closed or restricting access to the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Here is a link to Wyoming road information.

Traffic Lost Creek Fire

Google Maps showed slowing of traffic on the highway at 1:02 p.m. Sunday.

The map below shows the location of the fire relative to Yellowstone and Cody.

Vicinity map of the Lost Creek Fire
Vicinity map of the Lost Creek Fire west of Cody, Wyoming.