By Camille Erickson
Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange 

Injured firefighter out of hospital


October 8, 2020

CASPER — A firefighter injured while battling the Mullen Fire in southeastern Wyoming on Wednesday is out of the hospital and recovering, according to Russ Bacon, the forest supervisor of the Medicine Bow-Routt national forests.

“I’m happy to report that that firefighter is doing OK,” Bacon said during a virtual conference held on Wednesday evening.

The wildland firefighter “did not need to spend a night in the hospital.”

The Mullen Fire, which began nearly three weeks ago in the Medicine Bow National Forest, has burned 170,996 acres and remains just 14% contained.

“The firefighters are working their tails off and doing an amazing job as far as keeping structures protected and (ensuring) public safety and firefighter safety,” Bacon said. “This has been a really long season.”

On Wednesday, crews had a brief reprieve from this week’s persistently harsh conditions with lighter winds coming out of the southwest.

But heavy smoke throughout the region continued, according to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team.

The fire crawled north on Wednesday, with crews fighting to contain the blaze near the Sourdough Creek and South French Creek drainages.

In an effort to protect communities around Centennial and Ryan Park, crews began assessing structures and installing necessary protections. On Thursday, residents in these areas will likely see crews bringing out hoses, setting up orange tanks for water supply and working with the local fire department, John Wallace, the operations section chief, explained during a virtual update.

Though the fire was about eight miles outside Centennial as of Wednesday evening, Wallace said it progressed “very slowly” and “moved very little” throughout the day.

Authorities continue to keep an eye on the area around Albany, but Wallace noted crews were “making slow, but steady, progress.”

“All the work that is going on around Albany and south to Woods Landing is going very well,” Wallace said.

Strong winds will likely stick around through the weekend, according to an update from the National Weather Service on Wednesday evening.

A cold front is forecast from the northwest for Saturday evening, bringing welcomed moisture and cooler temperatures with it. Snow is predicted to fall in the northern ends of the fire at higher elevations.

Minimal humidity and warm temperatures this week have created prime conditions for the fire to spread.

The Mullen Fire began on Sept. 17. It spread quickly across rugged terrain, devouring the dense vegetation and beetle-killed trees throughout the national forest. Last week, the fire crossed the state border into Colorado.

Authorities initially said the fire was likely human caused, but have not provided additional details. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Albany County Emergency Management Agency and Sheriff’s Office have issued mandatory evacuations and pre-evacuation warnings for multiple communities in recent weeks.

As of Monday, authorities say the fire has destroyed 29 homes and 31 outbuildings in Wyoming.


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