Diamond Creek Fire tops 105,000 acres; community meeting is tonight

— The Diamond Creek Fire, which has burned across more than 105,000 acres, remains hung up in rocky terrain at Butte Pass at the head of Monument Creek.

Level I evacuation alerts, issued Sept. 5, remain in place for the Lost River, Mazama and Rendezvous areas. The fire is about 12 air miles from the nearest structure, fire managers said.

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

On the fire, defensive line work continues. The human-caused fire is burning mostly in the Pasayten Wilderness Area, although it has spilled over the international border into Canada. Southeast winds spurred the majority of fire growth Tuesday to the northwest in British Columbia.

The fire is about 65 percent contained; 50 people are assigned to the fire.

Heavy smoke blankets much of eastern Washington from an air inversion. Besides the Diamond Creek Fire, there are wildfires burning in Canada, northwest of Manson near Lake Chelan, northeast of Keller on the Colville Indian Reservation, northwest of Cle Elum and several other areas of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

“Work continues daily on the defensive lines designed to protect our communities,” said Incident Commander Matt Ellis of the Diamond Creek Fire. “We will continue to utilize every resource available to us.”

More southeast winds today are expected to spur more fire spread to the west and northwest in Canada. Some growth is anticipated along most areas of the fire because of near-record high temperatures and near-record low humidity for this time of year.

Ground crews will continue work on defensive lines planned to protect communities in the Mazama area.

Today marks the 88the consecutive day – corrected by fire officials from yesterday’s figure - without measurable precipitation over much of north central Washington.

The Bridge Creek Fire, burning north-northeast of Keller, has reached 84 percent containment. Fire personnel are beginning to demobilize as more of the work is completed and fewer resources are needed.

The lightning-caused fire is burning within the containment lines in a mosaic pattern in tall grass, timber, dead and downed debris. Some interior islands of fuel will continue to burn with isolated torching and smoldering, fire officials said.

Crews are working to establish a solid mop-up line 100 feet from the fire’s edge. Firefighters will continue using an infrared camera along the southeast perimeter of the fire.

Along the southern boundary, all of the hose lays were pulled and the area is now in patrol status. On the western perimeter, crews will begin pulling hose and pumps out of the “no name creek” draw and transporting the equipment back to base camp.

The heavy smoke moderated temperatures and humidity across the fire area on Tuesday, but the blanket of thick smoke over the fire meant air attack was unable to fly. Because of smoke drifting from fires in the Northwest, visibility may be limited again today.

Once the smoke lifts, air operations will assist in moving equipment back to the supply unit and continue to support suppression efforts where needed, fire officials said.

The fire has burned across 3,709 acres. As of Sept. 6, 276 people were assigned to the fire.

Air quality across the region is at very unhealthy and hazardous levels. Northeast and east winds brought thick smoke in from Montana and British Columbia wildfires to add to smoke from Washington and Oregon blazes.

As of mid-afternoon, air quality was considered unhealthy in Omak, with an index of 167; unhealthy in Winthrop, at 181; very unhealthy in Wenatchee, at 287; very unhealthy in Ellensburg, at 211, and unhealthy in Colville, at 187.

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