News Release: Wildfire Update
Incident: Gold Pan Complex Wildfire
July 21, 2013 – 8:00 PM
Contact: Public Affairs Officer: Tod McKay
Phone: 406-363-7122 / Cell: 406-531-1130
What: Gold Pan Fire
Location: 35 air miles SW of Darby, MT. in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho – west of the Selway River and Magruder Ranger Station.
Jurisdiction: Bitterroot National Forest – West Fork Ranger District
Summary: Afternoon winds, hot temperatures, and single-digit humidity pushed the lightning-caused Gold Pan Fire burning in the remote Frank Church wilderness in Idaho to 200 acres on Sunday. The fire is located west of the Selway River and Magruder Ranger Station near Kim Creek Saddle. It’s burning on the West Fork Ranger District approximately 3 miles east of Salmon Mountain Lookout. See attached photo taken this afternoon from Hells Half Lookout. A large plume of smoke was visible today south of Hamilton.
The fire is burning in timber in rugged and steep terrain. Most of the growth today was on the north and east sides of the fire. There are no structures, remote cabins, or campgrounds in the area. An outfitter who has a temporary camp nearby removed some of his gear and supplies today. The fire has moved within ½ mile of the Magruder Road Corridor to Elk City, Idaho. The road remains open, but traffic may be stopped if the fire continues burning towards the road. Contact the West Fork Ranger District at 406-821-3269 for the latest road information.
The fire is near numerous fire scars (old burns) including last year’s Salamander and Mustang Complex Fires. Because it’s in the Frank Church wilderness area that allows wildfires to meet resource benefit objectives, it’s currently being monitored daily by lookout and air patrol. For the latest fire information and photos visit www.inciweb.nwcg.gov
Closures: There are no closures at this time. Terrain: Extremely steep, remote, rocky
Current Fire Danger: The Bitterroot National Forest recently increased its fire danger to ‘high’ as a result of our 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. Temperatures this week are expected to remain in the 90’s.
Florence Fire Assistance: Forest Service fire crews assisted Florence Rural Fire District with controlling a wildfire east of Florence on Sunday. The 40-acre Granite Creek fire was reported burning in sage brush and hay before fire crews got it under control. The cause is still unknown. Ground crews and engines were assisted by a Montana DNRC helicopter using a bucket to drop water on the fast moving fire.
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.