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Gold Pan Complex Expands to More Than 37,000 Acres, More Expansion Into Montana Over Weekend

Gold Pan expansion
Photo courtesy of inceweb.org

The Gold Pan Complex fires burning in southwest Montana have grown to more than 37,000 acres.

“Right now the fire is at approximately 37,138 acres,” said Incident Management Team Public Information Officer Kimberly Nelson. “The Gold Pan is sitting at 36,173. The other acreage is from the Nez Peak fire and the other little fires that we have going on. Right now we are really taking action on the fire that is within the wilderness boundary by doing point protection. What that means is that we are wrapping or setting sprinkler systems on existing infrastructure such as cabins, bridges, signs… those sorts of things.”

Crews are also removing snags and debris from roadways to ensure safe travel for emergency vehicles. At the moment, the area is still closed to the public.

An expansion chart of the fires released over the weekend (Saturday, August 24), reveals that the newest areas of the fires’ expansion has been to the north and east, toward and over the Idaho-Montana border.

Rains occurred over the weekend and, although helpful, were too little to push back the fire. Nelson said that a fire season ending event is needed and would require, “snow on the mountain peaks.”

Nelson also said they have struggled to receive resources for the fire because it is mostly in the wilderness and is not an immediate threat to homes, like the Yosemite and Lolo Creek Complex fires. It is still considered a low priority.

Right now, there are about 276 personnel fighting the Gold Pan Complex. So far, these fires have cost more than $ 9.7 million.

Kimberly Nelson:

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