Hats off to the firefighters battling the Mullen Fire

If any of the people fighting the Mullen Fire are reading this, please know everyone in Wyoming is extremely thankful to you. We also know it’s a tremendously dangerous task, so please be safe up there.

Last week, the Mullen Fire southwest of Laramie grew from 38,000 acres to well over 136,000, and more firefighters are arriving to help battle the blaze every day. As of Saturday morning, there were 1,068 brave men and women fighting that fire.

The fire has grown nearly every day, and on some days, it has grown a lot. There have been days when the fire almost doubled in size, despite the hard work of all those firefighters. They have several airplanes and helicopters outfitted with systems to allow them to dump water or fire retardant, but weather conditions have often hampered their ability to get those aircraft in the air.

That weather is also a big part of the reason the fire keeps growing so rapidly. It’s dry out there, and strong winds both feed the flames and push it to new areas.

Fire is necessary for forest health, and it’s part of the natural cycle for those forests. But there’s a lot of human activity in that area, so those firefighters are concentrating on protecting structures. They’re putting their lives on the line to keep us safe and protect our homes, cabins, recreational activities and water supplies. If you see any of these firefighters in a rare moment of down time, give them your thanks. Even if they’re covered with soot, dirt and ash, give them a hug.

Even though those firefighters have been doing everything they can to protect the buildings in the fire’s path, some have been lost. And with no rain or snow expected in the forecast, and more wind coming, it’s likely this fire will continue to spread. Keep an ear out for news of further evacuations, and if you can help get people and livestock to safety, do what you can. And once more, to the people fighting the fire, we thank you. Please stay safe.