MAZAMA The Diamond Creek Fire, which has blackened 129,000 acres in the United States and Canada, grew some over the weekend as mild weather moved into the region.
Helicopter bucket drops checked fire spread in the Pat Creek area, but were not needed Sunday, Sept. 17, as fire behavior moderated along the southern perimeter.
The fire, 11 miles north-northwest of Mazama, was reported July 23 and has been attributed to a human cause, but as of Monday, Sept. 18, the cause was listed by fire officials as “under investigation.” The blaze, with 294 people assigned to fight it, is about 30 percent contained.
Firefighting resources are finishing up primary and secondary line construction throughout the ridgeline areas connecting Yellowjacket SnoPark eastward to Eightmile Peak, fire officials said.
The primary and contingency network of fire lines combined to protect values at risk along the southern perimeter of the fire. Firefighters will use the lines to defend the communities along the Methow River should the fire advance to those areas.
Level 2 evacuation alerts remained in place Monday for Lost River, Mazama and Rendezvous areas, but might be downgraded to Level 1, fire officials said.
Once fire lines have been completed, the process of repairing culverts and bridges damaged by the fire response will start with heavy equipment assigned to the wildfire.
The fire continues to burn slowly into steep, rugged terrain in the Pasayten Wilderness and is being managed using a confine strategy that combines containment by natural features and full suppression to control the spread toward Mazama.
A cold front moved into the area Sunday afternoon, bringing an increased chance of rain or snow, although the long-term forecast through this weekend is for cool, dry weather. Temperatures at 5,500 feet were in the 40s.
Areas on the east and west sides of the Diamond Creek Fire were opened for public use Sept. 18. On the west side, Harts Pass Road, Robinson Creek and Middle Fork of the Pasayten River have reopened.
Open on the east side are Falls Creek, Black Lake, the lower section of Andrews Creek and the Chewuch No. 510 trail to the confluence of Basin Creek.