[8/7/17] Diamond Creek Fire At 9,421 Acres- Expected To Be A Long Term Event

Posted in WildfireTagged , , , , , , , ,

An infrared flight from last night indicates 600-700 acres of fire growth in the Lost River drainage, at the southwest edge of Diamond Creek Fire. A concentration of heat indicates active burning near Nanny Goat Mountain and in the Diamond Point vicinity along the northeast edge of the fire.

Smoky conditions persist today, meaning reduced visibility for fire aviation operations.  If visibility improves, firefighters will utilize helicopters to deliver water drops to slow fire advancement. An increase in helibase activity should prompt Mazama residents and visitors to be aware of increased air traffic.
If conditions align, firing operations may begin in order to remove fuels and create a buffer between the northern edge of the fire and natural barriers. Brushing and felling is nearly complete near Billy Goat trailhead and hazardous snags are being removed along the upper section of Eightmile Road. Crews continue scouting further south for existing roads that may be used as potential fuel breaks. Structure protection assessments continue along Methow River northwest of the community of Mazama and along the Chewuch River.

Fire managers recognize that Diamond Creek Fire will likely be a long-term event.  It is being managed under a suppression strategy using a mixture of direct, indirect, and point protection tactics. Fire personnel will engage the fire at an appropriate time and location, while keeping firefighter and public safety as our top priority.

The Diamond Creek Fire is burning in the steep slopes of the Diamond Creek, Dollar Creek, and Lost River drainages in the Pasayten Wilderness. The fire is approximately 16 air miles north of Mazama, Washington and 8.5 miles [13.6 kilometers] south of the Canadian border. Fuel conditions, combined with steep rocky terrain and numerous standing snags from previous fires, mean hazardous conditions for firefighters. Active fire behavior is expected with short, intense upslope runs on the northern edge, isolated tree torching and the possibility of long range spotting.

Temperatures today are expected to be high 70s to low 80s with light winds. Decreasing stability in the upper atmosphere could lead to some cumulus buildups in the afternoon, though the persistent smoke lowers chances of precipitation.

Expanded campfire restrictions went into effect today, when the IFPL (Industrial Fire Precaution Level) was elevated to Level III. Maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire, and use of charcoal briquette barbecues, or other devices that use solid fuel is prohibited across most of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. 

A fire area closure is in effect (Fire Closure No. 06-17-04-17-1001). Additionally, Eightmile Creek 5130 Road is closed beyond Cub Creek 5220 junction at 5 miles, restricting vehicle access to Ruffed Grouse and Honeymoon Campgrounds, and Copper Glance and Billy Goat Trailheads. Visitors 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.

Quick Facts

Approximate acreage: 9,421 acres
Start Date and cause: Sunday, July 23, 2017. Human caused.
Incident Commander: Chris Schulte, Pacific Northwest Team 2 Type 1 Incident Management Team
Resources on the Fire: Crews: 1; Helicopters: 4; Engines: 5; Water Tenders: 2; Support: 93
Total Personnel:162
Jurisdiction: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest