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Gold Pan Fire in Wilderness Sends Smoke into Bitterroot Valley

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The Gold Pan Fire near Magruder Corridor. (USFS Photo)
The Gold Pan Fire in the Frank Church Wilderness grew to about 2,000 acres over the weekend and sent a large column of smoke into the air and over the south end of the Bitterroot Valley.

Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest said the fire is burning about 3 miles east of the Salmon Mountain Lookout on the West Fork Ranger District. It is west of the Selway River and Magruder Ranger Station near Kim Creek Saddle.

The Gold Pan Fire is burning in remote, extremely steep areas and is being monitored daily by lookout and air patrol. The fire is about a half mile away from the Magruder Corridor at the south end of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. The road remains open, but may be closed depending on the fire behavior.

McKay said the Bitterroot National Forest has a “high” fire danger.

He said the Forest Service assisted Florence Rural Fire fighters on the 40 acre Granite Creek Fire Sunday, which burned in sage brush and hay. A Montana DNRC helicopter also helped in controling that blaze, the cause of which is under investigation.

Meanwhile, the West Mullan Fire near Superior, MT, on the Lolo National Forest is 35 percent contained and has reached over 6,100 acres in size, as of Monday morning.

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