Forest Fire Smoke Invades the Bitterroot Valley
A smoke plume was evident over the Bitterroot Mountains Friday afternoon and evening. The smoke is tentatively identified as the California Point Fire, which is in Idaho in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. (see circled area on a Friday, July 26, satellite map)
The California Point Fire started by lightning and has been growing in the hot, dry weather, but we have no acreage estimate as of Saturday evening.
We do have an estimate of the size of the Gold Pan Fire on the West Fork Ranger District of the Bitterroot National Forest. After growing another 2,000 acres Friday, the fire has now caused the closure of the Magruder Road. It is part of an area closure in the Franck Church Wilderness. The road is closed at Nez Perce Pass on the Montana/Idaho line.
Meanwhile, the Goat Fire, near the Gold Pan fire, has remained at about 8 acres.
A smoke column from the Moose Meadow Fire southwest of Philipsburg has been visible from the Bitterroot Valley. That fire fire grew from 100 acres to over 600 acres by Saturday morning. The fire is about 20 miles southwest of Philipsburg near Moose Mountain.
A Type 2 Incident Management team has assumed command of the fire. Pre-evacuation is being conducted at Moose Lake, Copper Creek Campground, Frog Pond Basin, Zekes Meadow and Sagebrush Flats.
There are six helicopters and two handcrews fighting the fire.