Virginia Creek and Goldstone Fire Update, Aug, 4, 2018

Contact(s): Leona

Fire Danger Level for the Dillon Dispatch Center Zone is High

Virginia Creek Fire, Madison Ranger District

A public meeting will be held Saturday, August 4, at 6:00 p.m. at the Madison Valley Rural Fire Department, Station 1 located at 5037 Highway 287 north of Ennis.

The lightning caused Virginia Creek fire detected on August 2 at approximately 12:45 p.m. is currently 35 acres in size and is burning in heavy concentrations of mixed conifer (sub-alpine fir, Engleman Spruce, lodgepole pine) fuels with very heavy concentrations of standing dead trees and logs on the ground and is 0% contained.  Resources from the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and the Madison Valley Volunteer Fire Department working on this fire are: 44 personnel including: 3 Engines; 1 Water Tender; 1 Helicopter; and one 26 person hand crew. The fire is located approximately five miles west of McAllister, in the Virginia Creek drainage.

Yesterday the fire burned towards the west and crews worked to build and strengthen existing containment features on the eastern side of the fire.  Fire personnel are working to keep the fire from advancing past the Meadow Creek and Virginia Creek roads and from burning over the ridgeline above the fire on the southeast side. Preparations are being made to conduct a burning operation this evening if weather conditions are favorable.  The plan is to slowly bring the fire to the Virginia Creek and Meadow Creek Roads.  Smoke from this burning operation will increase significantly this evening.

Virginia Creek Road #1249 and trail #6314 have been closed in order to provide for the safety of firefighting personnel and public.  Smoke will be very visible from Norris Hill south to Ennis for the next few days to come.


Goldstone Fire, Dillon Ranger District

The 27 acre lightning caused Goldstone fire was detected, August 2, at approximately 6:30 pm. It is 0% contained and is located approximately five miles west of Reservoir Lake near Goldstone Pass in the Bitterroot Mountains, near the Montana and Idaho state border. The fire is located in steep mountainous terrain and is burning in heavy mixed conifer fuels (sub-alpine fir, Engleman Spruce, lodgepole pine) with very heavy concentrations of standing dead trees (snags). Six firefighting personnel from the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and heavy equipment are working to construct a fuel break along Forest Road #7402. Crews are now implementing a plan to construct indirect fuel break.                                                          

Due to this active fire, there is an area closure south of Forest Road #7327, east of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, north of the ridgeline between Eunice Creek and Park Creek, and west of Forest Road #7402. Forest Road #7402 and Trail #1144 are closed.  Forest Road #7327 and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail currently remain open.


Additional Information:

Updates and information will be provided as significant changes occur.

Fire Weather Forecast: A disturbance will swing through southwest Montana late tonight into Sunday morning causing a few showers and thunderstorms. By mid-afternoon on Sunday, the atmosphere becomes unstable enough to generate another round of convection, dissipating after sunset. A strong ridge of high pressure will build over the Northern Rockies Monday through at least Thursday.  Hot and dry conditions will be the dominant impact with strengthening thermal belts each night. The ridge appears to break down Friday into Saturday which could create critical weather conditions. For up to date fire weather forecasts for southwest Montana, go online to

Prevention: During this time of high fire danger, people are reminded to be careful with all fires; be sure to extinguish campfires completely and to keep motorized vehicles on roads and trails.

Fire restrictions are not in effect on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, however, people are encouraged to keep informed of other area restrictions by going online to

Fire Activity and Smoke: Currently, there are 68 uncontained large fires in the nation, which are filtering smoke into the valleys of Montana.  You can find information about these fires on Inciweb at  Additionally, smoke from 68 uncontained large fires in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta is also flowing through Montana.  Further information on smoke can be found from the MT Department of Environmental Quality’s web page at

Preparedness Level: The nation is currently at a Planning Level Five (PL5).  PL5 indicates that there is large fire activity occurring in multiple geographic areas and a heavy commitment of crews, aircraft, and equipment to these incidents, along with a forecast for continued hot, dry, windy conditions.  During PL5, as fires grow and additional resources are needed, it can take longer for resources to be assigned to a fire due to the limited number of available.  The Northern Rockies Geographic Area   (MT, Northern ID, and North Dakota) and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is at a Planning Level Three (PL3). PL3 indicates mobilization of resources nationally is required to sustain incident management operations in active Geographic Areas (GA's).

To find out more about the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest go online to:, and check out News & Events, ‘Like Us’ on our Facebook page, and ‘Follow Us’ on our Twitter page at for further information.