The Gold Pan Forest Fire on the West Fork Ranger District of the Bitterroot National Forest is now estimated to be over 15,000 acres, after experiencing 40 mile per hour downdrafts from passing thunderstorms Wednesday.

According to information officer Thomas Kempton, the fire in the Frank Church Wilderness spotted to the west, north and northeast over the Magruder Road in various places. There was also a spot fire north of Kim Creek Saddle that quickly grew to about 100 acres. There are numerous spot fires north of Magruder Ranger Station and Deep Creek campground.

The Magruder Road is closed to the public at Fales Flat Campground, but the campground remains open. However, the closed road is being used as a possible escape route for firefighters to both the east and west, due to the potential growth of the Gold Pan Fire.

Better news from the Moose Meadows Fire on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, southeast of Philipsburg. The 3,400 acre fire, 15 miles west of Georgetown Lake, is now 20 percent contained, because of cloud cover and cooler temperatures allowing crews to improve fireline on the north and south flanks.

All fire managers are being cautious, with weather changes predicted through Friday.

Stage 1 fire restrictions are now in effect on the state and national forests in the area.