Level I evacuation alerts issued for areas near Mazama

— Level I evacuation notices have been issued for Lost River, Mazama and Rendezvous residents because of the Diamond Creek Fire.

Level I is the lowest of the evacuation levels and means people should be aware of fire in the area.

Okanogan County Department of Emergency Management issued the evacuation alert just before 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5.

The human-caused fire was reported July 23. It’s burning north of Mazama and has burned into Canada. It’s one of several fires burning in the state.

As of Tuesday morning, Sept. 5, the fire had crested Butte Pass but was hung up in the upper reaches of the Monument Creek area in extremely rocky terrain, said fire managers. An inversion resulted in heavy smoke, which is limiting air resources. Smoke blankets much of eastern Washington.

So far, the fire has burned across 95,000 acres of timber, mostly in the Pasayten Wilderness area. It’s about 65 percent contained.

On Labor Day, firefighters reported moderate fire spread to the east and north in the Spanish Creek and Ashonola Creek areas. To the southwest, the fire crested Butte Pass.

“From the start, the extreme terrain and fuel loading has limited the direct response actions that might normally be taken to put out a fire,” said Administrator Erin Uloth. “Crews have been working for weeks to protect our communities and we will continue to do so where it is safe to engage this fire.”

Fire managers anticipate a shift in winds today to the southeast, resulting in potentially less new growth in the Monument Creek, Remmel Lake and Ptarmigan Creek areas. Another day of critical fire weather and an abundance of dead and down timber may result in continued fire spread to the west and northwest. Helicopter and ground crews will be used as it is safe to do so.

A community meeting is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Winthrop Barn, 51 Highway 20. Fire managers will provide detailed information and maps.

More than 60 roads and are trails closed, including Monument Trail No. 484 and Andrews Creek No. 504.

Tuesday marked the 65th consecutive day without precipitation over much of central Washington. Near-record high temperatures and critically low humidity will continue through mid-week, fire managers said.

An air quality alert is in place for eastern Washington, according to the National Weather Service.

On the Colville Indian Reservation, the Bridge Creek Fire is 78 percent contained and burning within the containment lines. As containment continues, fire resources will continue to be demobilized, fire officials said.

Many have been assigned to other existing and new fires in the Northwest. Both Washington and Oregon have now declared a state of emergency because of the number of fires, lack of resources in the region and the potential for future fires over the coming weeks.

On Monday, in Division G in the interior northeast portion of the Bridge Creek Fire, a spot fire of less than five acres started between the containment and the alternate line. Firefighters attacked it aggressively.

The rest of the divisions are working on gridding and patrolling to ensure the line is holding.

Fire crews have completed using the infrared camera looking for hot spots and now have begun pulling hose out of the area. Approximately 34 miles of hose has been used on the Bridge Creek Fire.

Road closures around the fire are posted with the Colville Confederated Tribes.

The lightning-caused fire, burning 13 miles north-northeast of Keller, has burned across 3,709 acres

As of Tuesday, 311 people were assigned to the fire.

To the south, in Kittitas County, the Jolly Mountain Fire continues to threaten homes northwest of Cle Elum.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs, and Gov. Jay Inslee planned to visit the command post in Cle Elum this afternoon.

The fire, which started Aug. 11, has burned across more than 15,000 acres of federal, state, private and tribal land.

The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs for managing, mitigating and controlling the fire.

Other fires include Norse Peak, at 18,822 acres, burning west of Ellensburg; Uno Peak, 2,382 acres, burning northwest of Manson near Lake Chelan, and Jack Creek Fire, 1,800 acres, burning southwest of Leavenworth. All three are within the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Others in the state include North Fork Hughes, 2,600 acres, Idaho Panhandle National Forest; East Crater, 1,000 acres, Gifford Pinchot National Forest; Quarry, 130 acres, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest; Suiattle, 216 acres, northwest region Department of Natural Resources; Noisy Creek, 4,000 acres, Colville National Forest, and Burnout Road, 48 acres, DNR northwest region.

Several more fires are burning in Oregon and Idaho. The Eagle Creek Fire is burning within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area near Cascade Locks, Ore., just across the Columbia River from Washington.

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