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Thursday, August 3, 2017

8/3/2017 Diamond Creek Fire Update

Fire Information 503-765-7724 or

Thursday, August 3, 2017 - 10:00 a.m.
Community Meeting Tonight
6pm at the Methow Valley Community Center in Twisp

The Diamond Creek Fire is burning in the steep slopes of the Diamond Creek, Dollar Creek, and Lost River drainages in the Pasayten Wilderness. Driven by heavy fuels, prolonged hot and dry weather, and rugged terrain, the fire is approximately 3.5 air miles from the Billy Goat Trailhead and 16 air miles north of the community of Mazama, Washington.  The fire remains approximately 8.5 miles [13.6 kilometers] south of the Canadian border.

Incident Commander Chris Schulte’s Type 1 Incident Management Team was tasked with taking a strategic look at long-term options for the Diamond Creek Fire. After several days of bringing together intelligence from fire personnel both on the ground and in the air, fire managers are taking appropriate suppression actions that use opportunities and natural barriers that protect local values. The highest values at risk are the lives of the public and our firefighters, as well as the private property and homes within Mazama, Winthrop, and the surrounding communities.

This fire has the potential to be a high priority due in part to its proximity to Canada and the complexity that comes with fire progression across the border. It is also that time of year when temperatures are at their highest, grasses, shrubs and trees are dry, and fire can be easily carried by dry hot wind under the right conditions.

To prevent fire spread to the north, large helicopters will utilize precision water drops, as conditions and safety allows. Aerial firing operations using a helicopter may be utilized as necessary to remove fuels between the northern edge of the fire and natural barriers. Lastly, the fire is burning in a wilderness and there are several wilderness values such as water quality, lynx habitat, and trails that need to be considered as fire management activities continue.
To prevent fire spread to the south, large helicopters will cool off pockets of high heat from Nanny Goat Ridge to the west. Firefighters will continue work on constructing containment line utilizing two natural avalanche chutes on opposite sides of Billy Goat Road near the trailhead.

Temperatures are expected to be warm and dry today with a high of 91 degrees, with S/SW winds predicted at 3-6 miles per hour with gusts to 10 mph.
There are numerous trail closures in place. Visitors to the Pasayten Wilderness are reminded to check conditions before traveling in the area and to register at the trailheads, as this information is critical to timely and effective evacuation, should it be needed.  This fire does not currently affect access to the Pacific Crest Trail or Pacific Northwest Trail.

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