DARBY, Mont. -

The following is a press release from U.S. Forest Service:

Summary: The Gold Pan fire was active yesterday increasing 1,696 acres to 13,335 acres based on the Monday night infra-red flight.  The inversion did not lift until 2 pm, but when it did, the fire moved quickly pushed by northwest winds towards Pole Mountain and established itself a mile west of Hells Half Acre Saddle.  Early this morning, the fire was reported to have crossed the Hells Half Acre Road caused by late night winds. Yesterday, fire managers observed single and group tree torching, and there was short runs with fire burning in the tree crowns.  Helicopters worked with ground crews and dropped water to cool fire burning into the Magruder Road Corridor along the Kim Creek Saddle.   The west and south perimeter of the fire is not expanding but has reached Buck Knob and across the Selway River east of Langdon Point.
 
Today’s weather forecast is similar to yesterday with westerly winds causing active fire movement and long range spotting. Crews are preparing for possible spotting across the Magruder Road Corridor in the Deep Creek area. They are scouting the area for opportunities to secure Trail 37 north and west of Magruder Station and Deep Creek and along the Magruder Corridor to slow fire movement if spotting occurs.  Helicopter water bucket drops will continue to assist the ground crews to suppress fire movement and secure the Kim Creek Saddle area.  Fire crews will continue to protect the historic Magruder Ranger Station with a sprinkler system, and heat protective wrap on the buildings.  The Hells Half Lookout is also protected with heat protective wrap.  
 
The Goat fire is located southeast of Salmon Mountain lookout. Fire activity has been moderate; is located on a rocky east facing slope with little fuel. The fire area remains at 11 acres and is being observed by the staffed lookout and fire managers on the Gold Pan Complex

Hutton’s Type II Wildland Fire Management Team is preparing to transfer command to Poncin’s Type I Team on Wednesday. The Type II team will continue to prepare a long term plan forecasting fire behavior and management strategies.  Poncin’s team will have fire management responsibilities. Diane Hutton and the team members thank the local community and Bitterroot Forest for their support and valuable relations.   

Area Closure :  To provide for public safety an emergency closure is in place for parts of the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho.  The closure includes areas south of Magruder Road and Trail #37 to BeaverJack Mountain.  The closure includes Trail #13 east towards Trail #36.  To see a map of the closure visit http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3538/.  All forest service roads and trails within this area are closed.  

Magruder Road Closure UPDATE:  Due to recent fire  behavior, the eastside roadblock on the Magruder Road has been moved easterly to the Fales Flat (bottom of the pass).  Road guards are in place to divert traffic.  The westerly road block remains at Observation Pass.  
 

Smoke & Haze: Smoke will likely continue to settle in the southern Bitterroot Valley, possibly drifting to North Fork and Salmon, Idaho.  There are several fires burning in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest and on Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest that are contributing to the smoke & haze in the Bitterroot Valley.