Gold Pan Fire SW of Sula surpasses 3,000 acres


POSTED: 4:14 PM Jul 23 2013   UPDATED: 4:16 PM Jul 23 2013
SULA, Mont. -

The following information is from a US Forest Service press release:

The Gold Pan fire grew to 3,081 acres on Tuesday.  The most active parts of the fire are on the southwest corner between Gold Pan Lake and Buck Knob and on the east side in lower Gold Pan Creek and Landon Gulch.  The fire is burning in the remote Frank Church wilderness in Idaho west of the Selway River and Magruder Ranger Station, near Kim Creek Saddle.         
It’s burning in timber in very rugged and steep terrain.  There are no structures threatened but an outfitter has a base camp nearby.  On Monday, the outfitter removed stock and some equipment from the area.  Fire crews have installed sprinklers around Kim Creek Saddle to slow the fire’s progress as it moves towards the Magruder Corridor.

The burn is surrounded by numerous fire scars (old burns) including last year’s Mustang Complex and Salamander fires.  Because it’s located in the Frank Church Wilderness which allows wildfires to meet resource benefit objectives, it’s being monitored by fire staff, lookout and air patrols.   
Closures:  There are no closures at this time.  Terrain: Extremely steep, remote, rocky

Trails: Portions of trails 12, 89 and 74 have been impacted by the fire.  Hikers planning on using Trail 4 south of Magruder Ranger Station along the Selway River should be prepared for possible fire impacts and smoky conditions.   

Magruder Road:  Currently there are no closures or delays on the Magruder Corridor Road due to the fire.  The road is closed today July 23 and July 25 near Salmon Mountain Base Camp due to road construction.  The fire has moved within ¼ mile of the road.  Temporary road closures/delays are possible if the fire moves closer.  Fire personnel are at Kim Creek Saddle monitoring the fire and will serve as road guards if needed.  For the latest road information contact the West Fork Ranger District at 406-821-3269   

Smoke & Haze:  Due to the location of the fire and fuels burning, smoke will likely continue to settle in the southern Bitterroot Valley, possibly drifting to North Fork and Salmon, Idaho.

Current Fire Danger:  The Bitterroot National Forest today raised its fire danger to ‘very high’ as a result of recent warm and dry weather.  Forest officials are asking the public to be extremely careful when camping and to remember that it’s your job to properly maintain and extinguish your campfires.             
Weather:  According to the National Weather Service, conditions are primed to produce scattered dry thunderstorms over southwestern Montana and eastern Idaho later this week.  Storms will have the potential to produce frequent lightning and very gusty, erratic winds.  Lightning will be a danger to anyone spending time outdoors along with the possibility of new fire starts.  

Ravalli County Open Burning:  Ravalli County is currently restricting all open burning including debris piles, and slash fires.  Campfires must be attended until completely out and are restricted to established/constructed fire rings.