Virginia Creek and Goldstone Fire Update, August 5, 2018

Contact(s): Leona Rodreick

Fire Danger Level for the Dillon Dispatch Center Zone is High

Virginia Creek Fire, Madison Ranger District

The lightning caused Virginia Creek fire detected on August 2 at approximately 12:45 p.m. is currently 30  acres in size (due to more accurate mapping) 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, MT DNRC, and the Madison Valley Volunteer Fire Department working on this fire are: 47 personnel including: 4 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.

Last evening crews were successful in conducting a burning operation that safely brought the fire to the edges of the Meadow Creek and Virginia Creek Roads and moved the fire to the ridgeline above the fire. Today, if weather conditions are favorable, fire crews are continuing with the burning operation to tie in the west flank of the fire with the ridgeline and bring the fire to the Meadow Creek Road.

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.

Last evening 20 people attended a public meeting that was held in Ennis by fire managers to share information about the fire and planned actions

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 lightning caused Goldstone fire, detected August 2, is now approximately 125 acres. The fire is burning in a high elevation basin near Goldstone Pass. 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). Ten firefighting personnel from the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and a task force of heavy equipment are working to construct a fuel break along Forest Road  #7402.                                                           

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:

Fire Weather Forecast: A fair mixture of wet and dry showers and thunderstorms will be present across the region yet again today. Some brief gusts to 25 mph will be possible near showers along with some measurable precipitation. But this will serve as the only chance for precipitation through the remainder of this week as high pressure further strengthens its grip on the region. Hot and dry afternoons are expected with temperatures running some 5 to 10 degrees above normal. And while most valleys will still see decent radiational cooling overnight with respectable humidity recovery, mid slopes and ridges will remain quite warm and dry with poorer humidity recoveries expected each day. This will lead to more pronounced thermal belt formation by Wednesday which are likely to be
 most widespread and strongest by Friday morning. 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 87 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.