Fire tops 30,000 acres, destroys two structures

— The Diamond Creek Fire, burning in the Pasayten Wilderness, has grown to more than 30,000 acres, has claimed two structures and damaged another.

The human-caused fire, burning about 12 miles north of Mazama, was reported July 23. As of Aug. 21, it had burned across 30,524 acres of treed area in steep terrain.

Estimated firefighting costs so far are $6.2 million.

On Monday, a hotshot crew was scheduled to continue extending and improving hand line along a ridge above the Pat Creek drainage.

On Sunday in the Eightmile drainage, hand crews completed mop-up along the hand line on the southern tip of the fire. That portion of the fire will move into monitoring status.

Crews and equipment will continue to improve roads and contingency lines south of the fire, officials said.

Helicopter bucket drops may be used to work hot spots.

Officials with Southwest Area Type 2 Incident Management Team 5 said firefighters continue to make progress on the fire, but said they expect the blaze to be “a long-term event, continuing until season-ending precipitation occurs. Burning is likely to continue within the natural barriers and previous fire scars.”

Several area roads are closed.

Continued warming and drying with light winds are expected to produce areas of minimal to moderate fire behavior within unburned fuels. A high pressure ridge over the area Monday could cause increased smoke in the Methow Valley.

As of Monday, there were 367 people assigned to the fire. Resources included nine hand crews, two camp crews, 18 engines, two helicopters, two masticators, one bulldozers and seven water tenders.

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