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Gold Pan Complex grows to over 34,000 acres, threatened by high winds

Published On: Aug 23 2013 09:10:10 AM MDT
DARBY, Mont. -

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

A public meeting will be held Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at the West Fork Ranger Station.

Resources Assigned: Resources on the fire include 17 engines, 5 helicopters, 2 crews, heavy equipment (skidder, chippers and fellerbuncher) and 4 water tenders (approximately 262 personnel). Additional resources are being ordered as needed.

Current Status: Once the inversion lifted in the early afternoon yesterday there was moderately active fire behavior with group tree torching, short crown runs and some spotting. The fire burning in the Slow Gulch and Blue Joint areas is slowly moving down slope. As predicted, fire continues to move north/northeast into Cayuse, Scimitar and Gabe Creeks. The fire is active near Round Mtn. with short crowning runs and spot fires. The Nez Peak fire continued to slowly spread to the east.

Planned Actions: Given weather forecasts, firefighters will continue with established Management Actions. On Gold Pan fire, firefighters will continue to work along roads keeping travel routes clear and look for opportunities where work and values at risk are commensurate. Crews will continue to prepare contingency lines ahead of the fire spread. Operations will explore safe opportunities for direct attack on the leading edge of the fire in Blue Joint drainage. Goat Fire and Thirteen Fire remain in monitor status.

Given the current situation in south west Montana, we continue to share air resources as requested.
Closures: The Magruder Road closure area established by the Bitterroot National Forest remains in effect. Inciweb and the Bitterroot National Forest Website provide the up-to-date Forest Closure Map for specifics.

Weather: Temperatures will moderate some for the next few days with the current weather patterns. Today the potential for thunderstorms returns in the afternoon. The inversion should lift in the early afternoon providing opportunity for increased fire activity. Should thunderstorms occur, the possibility of outflow wind gusts up to 40 mph remains. There is no significant long-term relief in the forecasted fire weather conditions.

Cooperating Agencies: Ravalli County Fire Warden, Painted Rocks RFD, West Fork RFD, Ravalli County Sheriffs Dept., Ravalli County Office of Emergency Management, and the American Red Cross.