The Gold Pan forest fire Complex in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness now consists of four named fires - Gold Pan, Goat, Thirteen and Nez Peak. All together, the fires have burned over 18,000 acres on the West Fork Ranger District of the Bitterroot National Forest.

Of the four, the largest is the gold Pan Fire and the newest is the Nez Peak, which was discovered August 14 on the northeast side of Nez Perce Peak, about two miles northwest of the intersection of the Magruder Road and Hells Half Acre Road. At that point, it was a mile inside the wilderness boundary and about 25 acres in size (see photo). As of Friday morning, it has burned over 80 acres.

Wind predictions suggest the Gold Pan and Nez Peak fires will spread to the east. In case they leave the wilderness area, a contingency line has been completed between the wilderness and Painted rocks Reservoir. At the very least, the weather will cause more smoke to pour into the West Fork of the Bitterroot Valley.

A public meeting Friday at 6:30 p.m. will be at the West Fork Ranger Station on West Fork Road.