Snow temporarily slows Mullen Fire in southeast Wyoming
"The fire didn't move at all today, really," operations section chief John Wallace said. He expected the fire to begin moving again come Monday.
October 12, 2020
Cold, snowy weather Sunday offered a reprieve from the dry, hot stretch that has made things difficult for those trying to fight the Mullen Fire west of Laramie.
But the 1-2 inches that fell on the fire still left the fire teams with plenty of work to do on the blaze, which as of Sunday night measured 174,912 acres and was 25% contained.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Russ Bacon, the forest supervisor of the Medicine Bow-Routt national forests, said Sunday evening in an online news conference. “We’re certainly, I think, on the downhill slide. This moisture helps, but it’s not the end, by any means.”
Still, the weather slowed things down, if only temporarily.
“The fire didn’t move at all today, really,” operations section chief John Wallace said.
He expected the fire to begin moving again come Monday afternoon, however.
The snow helped put out lighter fuels, Wallace said, but in heavier logs, the fire was able to continue burning.
That was what occurred in the northwest corner of the fire, an area Wallace said he is optimistic about.
“I think a lot of the fine fuels that were burning in there, the smaller stuff like the pine needles, the brushes, the grasses — I think the snow probably really slowed things down in those areas,” he said. “There is still dead timber there, though, that will be continuing to burn.”
The cold front hit the area Sunday morning and dropped temperatures quickly, said Kari Fleegel, incident meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The precipitation began falling on the fire at 6:30 a.m., and by noon, reports of 1-2 inches were coming in. Two inches fell on Centennial. Around 15 miles north of the fire, as much as 5 inches of snow fell.
Fleegel said the winds, which reached as strong as 45 mph, made it hard to determine how much liquid was in the precipitation, but she said on average, one- to three-tenths of an inch fell.
Gusts persisted later Sunday but were diminishing at lower elevations. Cloud cover was expected to decrease Sunday evening, and a few more snow showers might occur, but nothing strong enough to accumulate. After temperatures dip into the low 20s Sunday night, high temperatures will be in the 40s Monday. Winds in the 40-50 mph range will blow again Monday, and gusts are expected throughout the week: The wind is forecast to fade Tuesday but return the next day with a new cold front before slowly lessening Thursday and Friday.