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Gold Pan Fire Continues to Grow – Stage One Fire Restrictions are Planned

gold pan fire
Trees torching at the Gold Pan forest fire. USFS Photo)
The 4,295 acre Gold Pan Fire in the Frank Church Wilderness has grown to the east in lower Gold Pan Creek and Langdon Gulch.

Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest said a new wildfire was discovered Wednesday to the southwest of Gold Pan. It is the Goat Fire and is now at 50 acres, burning near some old burns, including last year’s Mustang and Porcupine fires. The area is about 35 miles southwest of Sula in the West Fork Ranger District.

He said that Forest Service trail 19 could be “impacted by the fire and smoke.” Officials believe it was started by lightning July 17 and is now beginning to grow.

Stage 1 fire restrictions on the Bitterroot National Forest are expected to go into effect next week, Thursday, August 1. Campfires will only be allowed in a designated campground or recreation in an approved campfire ring. Smoking will be allowed only in vehicles or in areas that are cleared of flammable materials for three feet. Fines could amount to $5,000, plus the cost of fighting the resulting fire.

McKay said personnel are still finding numerous abandoned campfires in the Bitterroot Valley. Make sure that fire is completely out and cold to the touch before you leave your campsite.

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