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Pasayten fire confinement boundaries scoped

— Firefighters are improving exit routes from Diamond Creek Fire area and will continue reconnaissance work to identify opportunities to confine the fire.

The blaze, 18 air miles north of Mazama, began July 22. As of today, July 27, it had burned around 350 acres in the Pasayten Wilderness.

Brush is being cleared along the upper portion of Eightmile Road north of Winthrop. Helicopter operations are based at Fosters Field, about a half-mile east of Mazama on Goat Creek Road.

Where beneficial and safe to do so, firefighters are slowing fire spread to lessen impacts and reduce tree mortality, said officials with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Under a confinement strategy, firefighters would work to guide the fire toward natural barriers such as rocky ridgetops or other natural vegetation breaks and old fire scars.

The Pacific Crest Trail is at least 15 air miles from the Diamond Creek Fire and is not threatened. Scars from past fires, including the Tatoosh Fire in 2006, are between the Diamond Creek Fire and the Pacific Crest Trail, providing a buffer against rapid fire spread.

Goat Peak Lookout will be staffed to aid firefighters on the Diamond Creek Fire.

Objectives include keeping it within the Pasayten Wilderness, where it poses no threat to homes or communities.

On Wednesday, continued hot and dry weather with poor humidity recovery led to increased activity and fire growth overnight. The fire spotted across Diamond Creek and now is burning north of that drainage.

Firefighters will determine a new estimated acreage when they fly over the fire later today. There was no infrared flight on Wednesday night.

Smokejumpers, who had been working on the fire since it was reported on Sunday, transitioned with the San Juan Interagency Hotshot Crew and were transported out of the fire area yesterday afternoon.

The short-term weather forecast is for continued hot and dry weather. Wind direction has changed and is now pushing the fire north-northwest toward Hidden Lakes. Wind gusts up to 20 mph are predicted for later today.

Continued hazy conditions, particularly in the mornings around the community of Mazama, are expected.

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