Aug 3, 2013 4:50 PM by KPAX/KAJ Media Center

Gold Pan fire closes roads, trails

DARBY - The 16,360 acre Gold Pan fire burning in the Frank Church, River of No Return Wilderness of Idaho has prompted for officials to close several roads in the Bitterroot National Forest.

Forest officials say that several roads have been shut down to the public in the West Fork Valley on the West Fork Ranger District.

The closure is in effect to limit public access and allow construction of a fuel break using USFS roads, natural openings and old fire scars, according to a news release.

The fuel break will be used as a contingency fire line for the protection of private property in the event that the Gold Pan Fire moves towards the east out of the wilderness.

The road closures will provide for firefighter and public safety while this fuel break is being constructed.

Fire managers say the blaze, which was sparked by lightning on July 16, southwest of Conner, will be burning for quite some time because of its size, terrain and fuels.

Three road closures at the following locations will be staffed to divert traffic away from this area: Forest road No. 5644 at the junction of the Nez Perce Road; Forest road No. 5644 at Mud Creek Saddle; and Forest road No. 1303 west of Blue Joint Bay (Painted Rocks Lake) at its' junction with Forest road no. 362.

This closures will remain in effect until further notice.

Nearly 425 personnel are battling the fire, including helicopters as firefighters continue to work to slow the fire's spread - primarily in the Magruder Corridor area.

(photo courtesy

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