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Rain Storms Slow Area Forest Fires – Only For a Few Days

Gold Pan Command Center
The Gold Pan Forest Fire Command Center. (USFS Photo)
This week’s lightning and rainstorms provided a little relief for firefighters on both the Gold Pan fire in the Frank Church Wilderness on the Bitterroot National Forest and the Moose Meadows Fire on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.

The Gold Pan Complex is estimated Friday at over 16,300 acres. As much as .66 inches of rain fell on portions of the fire. Spot fires from wind events are being found and fought. Also, crews are linking roads east of the fire outside the wilderness as a secondary line of defense. The Magruder Road remains closed to the public at Fales Flat Campground below Nez Perce Pass. Fales Flat, by the way, remains open for public use.

Meanwhile, the Moose Meadows Fire is listed at 3,400 acres and is now 30 percent contained, thanks to the cooler and wet weather Thursday. Heavy rain shows and half-inch hail saturated some of the fuel. The air attack was disrupted for a time because of the thunderstorms.

The Granite County Sheriff reduced the Stage 3 Evacuation Request to Stage 2 Warning Friday. The Middle Fork road will be open to local traffic, but closed to the general public. The evacuation shelter at Granite High School has been closed.

A report from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests reported nine new fires from the storms on the North Fork Ranger District in Idaho, west of the Bitterroot Valley.

The smoke-producing California Point Fire in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is now about 5,100 acres and has experienced erratic wind and fire behavior.

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