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West Mullan Fire
Photo courtesy of Inciweb.org
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West Mullan Fire Winding Down – Now 75% Contained [AUDIO]

The West Mullan fire that has been burning near Superior since July 14 is now on the downhill side, after nearly a thousand personnel worked the fire and over $7 million dollars has been spent.

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Gold Pan Fire
The Gold Pan Fire smoke plume from Hells Half Acre Lookout. (USFS Photo)
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Gold Pan Fire Moves Closer to Magruder Road in Wilderness

The Gold Pan wilderness fire is now over 3,000 acres in size and is only a quarter mile from the Magruder Corridor road between the Frank Church and the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness areas.

Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest said the lightning-caused fire in the West Fork Ranger District has grown on the southwest corner and on the east side in lower Gold Pan Creek and Landon Gulch

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gold pan fire 722
The Gold Pan Fire near Magruder Corridor. (USFS Photo)
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Gold Pan Fire in Wilderness Sends Smoke into Bitterroot Valley

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

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West Mullan Fire
photo courtesy of Inciweb.org
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West Mullan Fire – Mandatory Evacuations Lifted – Fire Over 5,000 Acres [AUDIO]

Late Friday, fire officials, along with the Mineral County Sheriff's Department, lifted the mandatory evacuations around Superior where the West Mullan fire has now reached over 5,000 acres, but is now 30% contained.

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gold pan fire
The Gold Pan Fire July 18. (USFS Photo)
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Two New Forest Fires Erupt in the Wilderness Areas

Of the fires popping up from recent lightning storms, two are of note to Bitterroot Valley residents.

Many people saw smoke drifting into the valley from the California Point Fire on the north end of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness

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papoose fire
The Papoose Fire on July 16. (USFS Photo)
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Smoke and Flames – Forest Fire Update – Friday July 19

The largest forest fire in the area is on the Salmon-challis National Forest - the Papoose Fire (see photo). It is over 5,000 acres and is burning in steep, rocky, inaccessible areas along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River

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lightning
photo courtesy of Qualsiasi/flickr.com
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Thunderstorms – Heavy Rains Headed Towards Missoula [AUDIO]

Strong weather systems from the south will bring thunderstorms with lightning, gusty winds, small hail and heavy, soaking rains. National Weather Service forecaster Corby Dickerson said the weather will be both bad news and good news.

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lightning
photo courtesy of -Qualsiasi/Flickr.com
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Monday Lightning Storm Sparks Two Small Missoula-Area Fires [AUDIO]

The Western Montana sky exploded with lightning strikes and brief, heavy rains starting at about 6:00 a.m. Monday, as a summer storm swept through the Bitterroot, Missoula, and the Blackfoot areas. The lightning sparked at least two small fires.

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Arizona Wildfire
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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Interagency Fire Center in Missoula Answers Questions From National Press About Arizona Wildfire Disaster [AUDIO]

19 hotshot firefighters lost their lives on Sunday after being trapped in a raging wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona, located northwest of Phoenix. The crew was caught as the fire quickly changed direction and they were forced to deploy their portable fire shelters, but perished in the flames.

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sawtooth fire 2012
Smoke during last year's Sawtooth forest fire. (KLYQ Photo)
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Montana’s Wildfire Season Expected to be ‘Significant’

The summer wildfire season is expected to be at least as bad as last year, according to officials with the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

The center noted recent precipitation and cooler temperatures have delayed by several weeks the start of the fire season in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Montana

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