Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Diamond Watch Fire exceeds initial attack

| August 6, 2022 1:00 AM

Since it was started by lightning in mid-July, the Diamond Watch Fire has exceeded the initial attack, U.S. Forest Service officials said in a press release Friday.

The fire, now estimated at 120 acres, is being fought by 24 personnel. Located 5.5 miles due west of Nordman, the fire was reported July 14 and is listed at 0% containment.

Burning on a ridge to the east of Diamond Peak in Pend Oreille County, smoke from the fire can be seen from the Priest Lake area. The fire is burning in "timber litter" with jackpots of heavier fuels in a dense forest canopy.

"An infrared flight mapped the recent growth at 120 acres, with most of the heat showing now on the south aspect," Kary Maddox, forest service fire information officer, said. "This growth is associated with a predicted uptick in fire behavior due to high temperatures, winds, and periods of very low relative humidity."

The fire behavior is moderate with flanking, backing and isolated torching seen. Overall flanking and backing has been observed with some short uphill flanking observed Wednesday.

The fire is expected to creep to the west and south as steeper slopes allow for backing and flanking. While a low relative humidity helped the fire grow, Forest Service officials said those levels are expected to increase, which combined with cooler temperatures, should slow the fire's growth.

Forest Service officials said firefighters are working alongside heavy equipment to bolster containment lines adjacent to area roads. In addition, crews are evaluating area creeks and ridges where there is a higher chance of success compared to the current fire perimeter.

A masticator — similar to a wood chipper — is taking place to remove brush and other fuels to support firefighting efforts while ground crews are working to build a hardline at the head of Diamond Creek, Maddox said.

Forest Service officials said the Diamond Watch Fire is considered a suppression fire with a confinement strategy.

"Suppression activities are occurring where they have the greatest probability of success while limiting exposure to firefighting resources," Maddox said.

While there are no closures or evacuations associated with the fire, Forest Service officials said residents living in fire-prone areas should have an evacuation plan in place.

Forest Service officials asked residents and visitors to the area to be on the lookout for fire traffic and heavy equipment in the area. Crews are utilizing Forest Service roads 1362 and 308, with minor delays likely of FSR 308.



(Photo courtesy J. . HIRST/U.S. Forest Service)

Smoke from the Diamond Watch Fire can be seen from the Priest Lake area. the fire, now at 120 acres, is burning in Pend Oreille County, Wash.


(Map courtesy U.S. FOREST SERVICE)

A infrared map shows the outlines of the Diamond Watch Fire in Pend Oreille County, Wash. Estimated at 120 acres, the fire was started by lightning in mid-July.

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