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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

8/2/2017 Diamond Creek Fire Update

Diamond Creek Fire Update
August 2, 2017

The Diamond Creek Fire is slowly burning in the steep slopes of the Diamond Creek drainage in the Pasayten Wilderness. Driven by heavy fuels and steep terrain, the fire is approximately 3.5 air miles from the Billy Goat Trailhead and sixteen air miles north of the community of Mazama, Washington.  The fire remains approximately 8.5 miles [13.6 kilometers] south of the Canadian border.

Pacific Northwest Team 2 and local fire managers are developing a management action plan which will take into account suppression activities, the current and predicted weather conditions, fire growth, and potential impacts to the surrounding communities and ecosystems. The overall intent is to determine the most efficient way to protect communities and forests, while reducing unnecessary exposure to firefighters.
Helicopters were limited in their operations yesterday, as smoke from Canadian fires impacted visibility. When they could, they continued dropping water in the Dollar Creek drainage. The fire remains east of the Lost River and west of the 2003 Farewell Fire scar. Firefighters finished structure protection measures near the Billy Goat trailhead.

Where conditions allow, firefighters will continue taking action to confine the spread of the fire. Helicopters will be used to slow the fire growth by dropping water on the fire.

If safety allows, firing operations (utilizing fire under controlled circumstances to remove unburned fuels in front of the fire) may occur, with the objective of slowly backing the fire down into the bottom of the Lost River drainage. Firing operations can be effective tools in fire management.

Smoke from several fires throughout the region and in Canada will impact air quality as northerly winds continue in the morning. The Methow valley may get a reprieve as winds are expected to change direction, becoming southerly in the afternoon. Smoke impacts have the potential to affect air operations.

Temperatures are expected to be warm and dry today with a high of 89 degrees and winds predicted 3-6 miles per hour with gusts to 10.

There are numerous trail closures in place. 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. 

This fire does not currently affect access to the Pacific Crest Trail or Pacific Northwest Trail.

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