It’s dry out there. Our forests have been affected by years of drought, even though the last couple of years have brought more moisture than the years preceding them. But those dry years have taken their toll, and this summer’s lack of precipitation has turned those forests into a fuse just waiting for a spark.
That spark was struck in the Savage Run Wilderness a few weeks ago, starting what has now become the Mullen Fire. That fire grew to almost 70,000 acres as of Saturday, and with dry, windy conditions forecast for the next several days, it was looking like it would continue to grow for a while.
It now covers most of the Savage Run wilderness, and it stretches south into the Platte River Wilderness and east almost to the eastern forest boundary. I was up in that area at the beginning of the archery season, doing my best to walk quietly through the woods, but I had to pick every step carefully to avoid stepping on deadfall. The ground in much of that area is an enormous game of Pick-Up-Sticks — basically a carpet of fallen trees on a cushion of dry pine needles.
It’s no wonder the Mullen Fire is growing so rapidly. If you were planning to hunt in that area, think again. By the time they get that fire under control, there won’t be much left where the fire has reached. Those dead trees and pine needles are going to go up like napalm.
If you have a moose license for areas 38 or 41, or a limited quota Type 1 deer license for area 78, you might be able to get a refund or carry it over to next year. Cow/calf elk Type 6 licenses for areas 9 and 110 may be refunded, but not carried over.
If you do hunt, though, be careful. It’s a tinderbox up there.