The following press release is from the U.S. Forest Service:
Summary: The Gold Pan Fire was very active yesterday and is now 15,012 acres. Fire activity was influenced by downdrafts of up to 40 miles per hour from nearby thunderstorms, resulting in numerous spot fires that jumped the Magruder Road to the west, north and northeast. A spot fire north of Kim Creek Saddle had grown to approximately 100 acres by Wednesday evening despite efforts by helicopter bucket drops supporting firefighters on the ground. There was a ¼ acre spot fire east of the Hells Half Acre Road near Round Top Mountain and numerous spots north of Magruder Ranger Station and Deep Creek campground.
Today crews will concentrate on spot fires on the north and northeast of the main fire in an effort to hold the fire south of the Magruder Road. They will install a helicopter dip tank (for refilling helicopter buckets) at Magruder Ranger Station and Hell’s Half Acre Saddle. Structure protection will continue, including the Stone Creek Outfitter camp. One of the objectives is to keep the Magruder Road open as an escape route for firefighters both to the east and to the west.
Today’s temperatures are forecast to be in the low 80’s with relative humidity in the mid-20% to mid-30% range. There is the possibility of rapidly developing strong thunderstorms after 1:00 pm, with associated wind gusts and lightning. The most intense fire activity is expected to be in the areas near Kim Creek Saddle, along the Magruder Road, Deep Creek and Pole Mountain.
There are 309 personnel assigned to the fire including two Type 1 crews, four Type 2 crews, five helicopters and six engines.
The Goat Fire, located southeast of Salmon Mountain lookout, had minimal activity yesterday.
Road Guards on the Magruder road closure are located at Fales Flat campground on the east and Observation Point (Idaho) on the west. Fales Flat campground remains open to the public.
Area Closure: There is a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) of seven nautical miles and an emergency closure in place surrounding the fire area. 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.
Smoke & Haze: Smoke will likely continue to settle in the southern Bitterroot Valley, possibly drifting to North Fork and Salmon, Idaho. Several fires burning in surrounding areas are also contributing to this situation.
For the latest fire information and photos http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3538/ . Stay in touch with the Bitterroot National Forest through www.facebook.com/DiscoverTheBitterroot and www.twitter.com/BitterrootNF.