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Saturday, July 29, 2017

07/29/2017 Diamond Creek Fire Update

Diamond Creek Fire Update
July 29, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.

Diamond Creek Fire is about 18 air miles north of Mazama, Washington in the Pasayten Wilderness.
“The hot weather and no rain for the past month is contributing to extremely dry conditions in the area,” said Methow Valley District Ranger Mike Liu.  “Those same conditions contribute to rapid fire spread, as seen with the 1,500 acre growth of Diamond Creek Fire over the past 24 hours.”
Visitors to the Pasayten Wilderness are reminded to check conditions before embarking and to register at the trailheads, as this information is critical to timely and effective evacuation, should it be needed.
“The Pasayten is vast,” said Liu, “and there are many trails and areas not under imminent threat by the Diamond Creek Fire.  However, a hike in to contact visitors to Crow lake, for example, can take three days in one direction.  It’s important that we know where people are and it’s also important that individuals check conditions before beginning their trip.”
Yesterday:  Active burning in the afternoon and evening on Friday, produced a smoke column easily visible from communities throughout Okanogan County.
The infrared flight last night indicated that most of the fire growth over the past 24 hours was to the east where the fire has reached the headwaters of Diamond Creek and is approaching Upper and Lower Fox Lakes. Intense heat was detected in the east and south perimeter and scattered heat remains along Diamond Creek in the interior. Multiple heat sources were detected outside of the southern perimeter, on the flanks of Nanny Goat Mountain and there was evidence of spot fires outside of northern, eastern and southern perimeters of the fire.
Weather:  The short term forecast is for continued hot and dry weather.  Continued smoky, or hazy conditions are expected, particularly in the mornings.
Today:  Firefighters are wrapping the historic administrative cabins and the Hidden Lakes Trail Bridge.  Air attack will work to check, or slow, the southern spread of the fire in the area of Three Fools Pass.  Firefighters are improving primary and alternate exit routes from the fire area.  Under a confinement strategy, firefighters would work to guide the fire toward natural barriers such as rocky ridgetops, or other natural vegetation breaks and old fire scars.  The fire has reached the 2003 Farewell Fire to the east.
Pacific Northwest Team 2, a Type 1 incident command team, will arrive for briefing this afternoon.  The team will work with local firefighters to establish a long term strategy and management action points.  Should the fire reach one of these geographic locations, the management strategy for that portion of the Diamond Creek Fire would then be altered as planned.  Examples would be increased suppression activity should the fire reach key points to the south of the fire or if it should reach a line about five kilometers south of the United States-Canadian border.
Objectives for the Diamond Creek Fire include keeping it within the Pasayten Wilderness, where it poses no threat to homes or communities.
Closures:  The following closures remain in place to provide for public and firefighter safety.  Additional trail and area closures are expected as the fire grows in size.
·         Billy Goat Trailhead
·         Hidden Lakes Trail (#477)
·         Larch Creek Trail (#502) from the trailhead to McCall Trail (#548)
·         Drake Trail (#502B)
·         Burch Mt. Trail (#502A)
·         Dollarwatch Trail (#451)
Pacific Crest Trail is at least 15 air miles from the Diamond Creek Fire and is not threatened by the fire at this time.  Scars from past fires, including the Tatoosh Fire in 2006, are between the Diamond Creek Fire and the Pacific Crest Trail, providing a buffer against rapid fire spread.
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