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Fire meeting draws 377 in Winthrop

— Fire officials counted 377 people at a Sept. 6 informational meeting about the Diamond Creek Fire.

The meeting, at the Winthrop Barn, was held in an open house format so people could talk directly to firefighters about efforts to contain the 104,000-acre, human-caused blaze burning 12 miles north of Mazama.

“The strong public turnout is indicative of the strength in this community, to stay engaged in the efforts by firefighters and get up-to-speed on our actions,” said Agency Administrator Erin Uloth.

The fire is 35 percent contained. Although it is burning primarily in the Pasayten Wilderness area, it has burned northward into Canada

On Wednesday, Sept. 6, the fire continued moving predominantly east in the Ashnola drainage and farther north into British Columbia. Smoke could be seen throughout the area as the fire progressed into the Little Willie drainage.

The fire area continues to burn into steep, rugged terrain.

On Sept. 7, chippers and bulldozers are improving fire lines by treating slash created as part of the preparation work on the indirect fire line, fire officials said. Chippers are working at Goat Creek Road No. 5225 past the 200 road junction, and also scouting and improving defensive lines north of Mazama.

Level I evacuation alerts remain in place for Mazama, Rendezvous and Lost River areas.

The weather forecast calls for a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm this afternoon, with a maximum temperature of 82 degrees and south winds of 2-6 mph. Gusty or erratic winds are expected near any thunderstorms.

Heavy smoke from five large fires in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest will stay in area valleys today.

As of Thursday, 53 people are assigned to the fire.

To the east, on the Colville Indian Reservation, the Bridge Creek Fire is 85 percent contained. Most of the remaining work will involve firefighters mopping up and securing fire lines, fire officials said.

Heavy smoke is helping to keep the 3,711-acre fire down, but as the smoke lifts fire activity has the potential to increase with torching and burning in isolated areas of unburned fuels within the fire’s interior.

Resource advisers are working with fire officials to assess the needs and repair work necessary after fire suppression actions.

The fire danger level is “very high” across the Colville Indian Reservation, according to the Mount Tolman Fire Center.

The lightning-caused fire is 13 miles north-northeast of Keller; as of Sept. 7, 267 people were assigned to the fire.

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