Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service
Aerial view of Diamond Creek Fire looking south from Diamond Creek toward the Lost River drainage

From the U.S. Forest Service, current for July 26, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.

Yesterday:  Diamond Creek Fire is about 18 air miles north of Mazama, Washington and is estimated at 350 acres.  Fire growth is toward the east, and the fire is moving up the Diamond Creek Drainage. 

Fire behavior included single and group tree torching, upslope runs and short range spotting.  There was one spot about 1/3 mile east of fire yesterday afternoon.  Active fire behavior in the afternoon produced a smoke column visible to Methow Valley residents.  Most fire growth was toward the east.

Weather:  The short term forecast is for continued hot and dry weather.  The high-pressure system will contribute to poor smoke dispersal and continued hazy conditions, particularly around the community of Mazama.

Today:  Suppression efforts so far have allowed for safe evacuation of hikers and outfitters in the area and are allowing time for improving exit routes from the fire area.  This includes brush clearing along the upper portion of Eightmile Road.

Map courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service
To view a larger version, click the graphic to open in a new window. To view an interactive Google Maps view of the fire’s location in relation to local towns, visit https://goo.gl/maps/2DtUtGWA3542

Given the steep terrain, limited access and available resources, continued direct suppression of the Diamond Creek Fire would not be sustainable.  Now that evacuations are complete, other options can be considered.  Crews will continue reconnaissance, identifying opportunities to confine the Diamond Creek Fire. 

Where beneficial, and safe to do so, firefighters are slowing fire spread to lessen impacts and reduce tree mortality.

The Whiskey Town Wildland Fire Module, will arrive today and after an orientation briefing, will be transported, by helicopter, to the Diamond Creek Fire area.  Initially, their focus will be on making observations, gathering data, planning and beginning implementation of a long term strategy for confinement of the Diamond Creek Fire.  Considerations when developing the strategy include public and firefighter safety first then minimizing damage to natural resources and infrastructure.  Among the natural resource concerns is habitat for threatened and endangered species such as Canada lynx and bull trout.

Under a confinement strategy, firefighters would work to guide the fire toward natural barriers such as rocky ridge tops, or other natural vegetation breaks and old fire scars.

Closures:  The following closures remain in place to provide for public and firefighter safety. 

·         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)