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Gold Pan Complex at 0% containment

Published On: Aug 28 2013 01:14:46 PM MDT
GOLD PAN COMPLEX FIRE 8-20-13
MISSOULA, Mont. -

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

Current Size: Approximately 37,927 acres (Gold Pan – 36,843; Nez Peak –1,072)

Resources Assigned: Resources on the fire include 16 engines, 4 helicopters, 2 20-person crews, 5 water tenders, and heavy equipment (skidder, chippers, a large articulating brush cutter and feller-buncher) (approximately 254 personnel).

Current Status: Yesterday’s activities were much the same as other days. Tasks are nearing completion in several areas of the fire. The handline developed for contingency near the private land on the lower portion of Nez Perce road is nearly complete, as is brush and snag removal. West of West Fork Rd. crews have made good progress clearing and preparing roads to provide access as the fire approaches. Work continued along the Magruder corridor. Some pumps and hoselays were removed from the area. Crews moved to Nez Perce Pass again Tuesday for safety when winds increased from passing thunderstorms. The north side of the fire in the Cayuse Creek area showed activity again yesterday. Bucket drops were used to address spots and slow the fire’s spread in Cayuse Creek and Blue Joint drainage. Nez Peak was moderately active. A palm IR was flown over the fire to help refine the location of spots and the fire’s leading edge. We also assisted the Bitterroot National Forest with initial attack forces and a K-Max helicopter. Goat and Thirteen fires remain in monitor status.

Planned Actions: Actions will be similar to previous days. On Gold Pan fire, work will continue along Magruder road to keep travel routes clear. Crews have nearly completed all contingency lines on the east side of the fire. However, they continue to look for opportunities to improve these lines. Helicopters with buckets will be used on the leading edge of the fire in the Blue Joint drainage as well as other active areas to reduce the spread of the fire, as long as conditions allow.

The Gold Pan Complex is a long term event and will likely be contained when a season ending event occurs. This determination comes from several factors: the ability to provide for safety of firefighters, the lack of moisture in the fuels, the dead trees throughout, the topography in many areas and the lack of measureable precipitation, as well as, its location within the wilderness boundary.

Closures: The road closure order was adjusted Monday, August 26, on the southern boundary of Closure Area B to allow public access to Deer Creek trail #139. See InciWeb and the Bitterroot National Forest Website for up-to-date Forest Closure map for specifics.

Weather: Today and tomorrow more thunderstorms with rain are expected. As storms pass through the area there are still likely to be some higher gusts of wind which could increase the fire’s spread. In areas where rain falls it is expected to be “really wet,” according to the Incident Meteorologist.