August 14, Gold Pan Fire Update
Incident: Gold Pan Complex Wildfire
August 14, 2013
Contact: Public Information Officers: Bob MacGregor, Glenda Scott
Phone: 406-349-0163 / Cell: 603-568-9893, 406-529-2308
What: Gold Pan Complex (Gold Pan & Goat Fires)
Location: 35 miles SW of Darby, MT. in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.
Jurisdiction: Bitterroot National Forest – West Fork Ranger District
Size: 17,182 acres.
Summary: The Gold Pan Complex grew a total of 19 acres on Tuesday. Fire activity continued to be limited by fuel moistures. Fire Behavior Analyst Risa Lange-Navarro observed the fire trying to develop a column on the ridge north of Grassy Gulch and commented; “the column of smoke was just starting to build to try and make a short run and then it would fall apart as it hit moister fuels”. Crews conducted a three acre burnout on a small island of unburned timber on the south side of the Magruder Road. They also burned piles of slash created during the process of dropping hazardous snags at the Deep Creek Campground. Burning these piles will rob the fire of concentrated fuels if it makes another push to cross to the north side of the Magruder Road. Firefighters also rehabilitated the suppression lines created when crews worked feverishly to catch spot fires north of Magruder Road during the fire’s advance on July 30. Rehabilitation includes obliterating evidence of ground disturbance so the area will retain its wilderness character. Fire managers remain wary of the potential of the fire due to the high concentrations of unburned fuel to the east, the predicted hotter and drier weather forecast for the end of the week and the fact that we are still early in the traditional fire season. The hottest areas are found on the ridge north of Grassy Gulch in the southeast end of the fire, along Deep Creek south of the Magruder Road and in the drainage north of Kim Creek Saddle. The ability of the fire to push too far to the south is limited by the 2012 Mustang Fire which eliminated many of the fuels in that direction. A heavy helicopter was loaned from the Gold Pan Complex to the neighboring Nez Perce National Forest to assist them with initial attack on some new small fire starts. Cooperation between different Agencies and jurisdictions is a hallmark of the firefighting efforts across the country.
Today’s weather forecast calls for a continued warming and drying trend, this will likely result in increased fire behavior on Wednesday. Temperatures for Wednesday will push 90 degrees in the valleys and the upper 70s on the ridge tops with humidity in the teens and perhaps reaching the single digits. Winds on the ridges will be from the southwest at 3 to 6 mph with gusts up to 12 mph while winds on the slopes will generally push upslope and upvalley at similar speeds. Today’s operations will be concentrated on catching any spot fires that develop north of Magruder Road and keeping the Corridor open to fire traffic by clearing any falling snags, the Magruder Road continues to be closed to public traffic within the fire area. Culvert replacement on Scimitar Creek and grading of the road between Nez Perce Pass and Magruder Crossing will be on-going today and will be closely coordinated with fire operations.
The Goat fire is located southeast of Salmon Mountain lookout. The growth potential of this fire is limited because it is surrounded by bare rock terrain. Smoke was still being emitted from this fire on Tuesday.
Closures: An emergency closure order is in place for all Forest Service roads and trails within and surrounding the fire. View the closure order/map at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3538/. There is also a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the fire. For the latest fire information/photos go to: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3538/ Stay in touch with the Bitterroot National Forest through www.facebook.com/DiscoverTheBitterroot and www.twitter.com/BitterrootNF. Email Goldpan13@gmail.com to receive this information electronically.