West Mullan Fire – Mandatory Evacuations Lifted – Fire Over 5,000 Acres [AUDIO]
Late Friday, fire officials, along with the Mineral County Sheriff's Department, lifted the mandatory evacuations around Superior where the West Mullan fire has now reached over 5,000 acres, but is now 30% contained.
Fire information officer Pat McKelvey had the numbers related to the fire.
"We're at 5,240 acres, 30% contained with an estimated cost of $4,700,000 to fight," McKelvey said. "We're looking at a strength right now of 799 firefighters composed of 11 Type 1 crews and 11 Type 2 crews, seven helicopters, 44 engines, three dozers and 13 tenders."
McKelvey said the investigation into the fire has come to a conclusion as to how it started.
"They've released to me that the fire was human-caused, and is still under investigation," he said.
Evacuees were allowed to return their homes late Friday, even though there are still some road closures in the area.
"There are some areas that are open to residents only, there's not widespread opening yet," McKelvey said. "We have let the residents go back in. The evacuations are still a voluntary thing, but we have let the residents go back in. We are still controlling access going into many parts of the fire. There have been no structures lost, and no injuries."
McKelvey said the weather has been brutally hot for firefighters.
"We've had some cases of dehydration," McKelvey said."It's been hot, It was hotter here today than it was yesterday and the air mass is getting dryer. We're in critical fire weather. We're high, hot and dry, and its going to continue to do that."
Fire Information Officer Pat McKelvey