MISSOULA, Mont. -

The following is a press release from the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team:

Several National Forest System road closures are now in effect in the West Fork Valley on the West Fork Ranger District, Bitterroot National Forest.  The purpose of the closure is to limit public access to allow construction of a fuel break utilizing Forest Service roads, natural openings and old fire scars.  The fuel break will be used as a contingency fire line for the protection of private property in the event that the Gold Pan Fire moves towards the east out of the wilderness. The road closures will provide for firefighter and public safety while this fuel break is being constructed.

Typical August weather with warmer, dryer temperatures is expected to return to the area, and increased fire behavior is expected daily into the foreseeable future.  The fire will be a long duration event due to its size, terrain and fuels as the Northern Rockies enters the primary fire season.

 
Three road closures at the following locations will be staffed to divert traffic away from this area:

  • Forest road No. 5644 at the junction of the Nez Perce road

 

  • Forest road No. 5644 at Mud Creek Saddle

 

  • Forest road No. 1303 west of Blue Joint Bay (Painted Rocks Lake) at its’ junction with Forest road no. 362.

This closure will remain in effect until further notice.