Note: an earlier version of this story said Gov. Mark Gordon wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday that the fire had grown to more than 80,000 acres. InciWeb was reporting at the time that it was 35,810 acres, the same size as Friday afternoon. InciWeb recently updated its information to say the fire was now 68,138 acres. We are updating the story with the more conservative figure.

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UPDATE:

The U.S. Forest Service issued this closure update Saturday evening in cooperation with local authorities due to public/firefighter safety and fire growth potential:

  • It now includes the entire southern Snowy Range in Albany and Carbon counties.
  • It applies to all National Forest System land, recreation sites, trails, and roads within the closure boundaries.
  • Private land owners within the area closure boundaries will be contacted by Albany County authorities regarding pre-evacuation and evacuation notices.
  • Once private land owners have left the area closure, they may not re-enter the area until a process is developed by Albany County and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
  • The fire is under management of the Rocky Mountain Blue Incident Management Team.
U.S. Forest Service.

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The Mullen Fire southwest of Laramie grew to more than 68,000 acres in the past day  driven by strong westerly winds, according to the multiagency fire reporting service InciWeb.

Conditions Friday evening limited aircraft use in the area, and high winds along with poor visibility are expected to severely limit aerial operations again today.

This is an extremely dangerous situation.

The red dots on the attached map are thermal hot spots detected by satellite, according to Gordon's Facebook page.

Mullen Fire.

Damage assessment information is not yet available.

The fire was first reported on Sept. 17, and now has 426 personnel on the scene.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has determined it was human-caused and is asking for the public's help to identify anyone who may have been in the area of origin.

On Saturday morning, the fire front is about one mile north of Fox Park, extending east to just south of Lake Owen, according to InciWeb.

The subdivisions of Keystone and Lake Creek were impacted by the fire.

Firefighters were able to access areas after the flaming front passed and continued to perform structure protection actions.

Albany County officials worked closely with firefighters to evacuate several communities. Residents near the fire area should remain alert to rapidly changing conditions.

Firefighters on Saturday were aggressively working to protect structures in areas where the fire has already passed. Structure protection firefighters will work ahead of the fire in the areas of Albany, Rambler, Rob Roy, Woods Landing, Fox Park, and Foxborough.

Firefighters will also be in the Centennial area preparing structures in the event of a wind shift. Aerial support will continue as weather conditions allow.

Saturday, strong northwest winds gusting to 50 mph are expected to cause active fire behavior and fire spread. Humidity will be higher today with scattered cloud cover and lower temperatures. However, the strong northwest wind will override any benefits from the humidity and cloud cover.

Fire activity will remain extreme.

Mandatory evacuations are in effect for:

  • Foxborough community.
  • Fox Park to Albany South through the valley to Fox Creek Road, including areas west of Highway 11.
  • Middle Fork Canyon.
  • Woods Landing Corridor.
  • Lake Creek community.
  • Rambler community.
  • Rob Roy community.
  • Keystone communities: Keystone proper, lower Keystone, Langford/Ricker, Moore's Gulch, and 507C cabin grouping.

Pre-evacuation notices are in effect for:

  • Properties in the Forest closure.
  • Private land along Fox Creek Road.
  • Albany and Centennial, extending northwest along Highway 130.
  • All areas west of Highway 11 in the valley.

Three Wyoming state roads are closed south of Wyoming 11 between Wyoming 130 and Albany:

  • Wyoming 10 is closed north of Woods Landing to the Colorado border.
  • Wyoming 230 (Colorado 127) is closed starting at the state line north to Woods Landing in Albany County.
  • Wyoming 230 between Encampment and Colorado 125 at the state line remains open.

There is no estimate on when these roads might reopen.

A Forest area closure is in effect surrounding the Mullen Fire.

For details, see the new Forest Closure Order, and the new Forest Closure Area Map.

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