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Diamond Watch Fire continues to grow

| August 10, 2022 1:00 AM

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Firefighters continue to try to contain the growing Diamond Watch Fire near the border between Washington and Idaho’s Priest Lake area.

Mapped by an infrared flight, the fire was reported at 270 acres Tuesday, up from the 120 acres measured Friday, Aug. 5.

The fire is zero percent contained, according to a U.S. Forest Service news release issued Tuesday afternoon.

“Most of the heat is showing on the south slope, and the fire is highly visible from Idaho Highway 57 near Nordman, Idaho,” said the release. “An uptick in fire behavior due to high temperatures, winds, and periods of very low relative humidity allowed for conditions for fire growth.”

The fire was started July 14 by lightning and is burning on a ridge to the east of Diamond Peak in Pend Oreille County, Washington.

Crews are using heavy machinery to improve Forest Service Road 308 by removing excess fuel from the roadsides.

Firefighters are working to construct a handline at the head of Diamond Creek using natural barriers such as ridges and creeks, and they have placed a sprinkler system on the northern edge of the fire which is working to keep the fire out of the adjacent timber units.

“The safety of firefighters and the public is the primary objective,” said the Forest Service release. “Fire managers are using a confine strategy as fire crews evaluate safe access for suppression activities. Management action points are in place to respond to changes in the fire.”

Closures & evacuations

Closure of Forest Service Roads 311, 308 and Petit Lake are currently in the process to provide for safe heavy equipment operations and fire suppression activity. FSR 311 will be closed from the 311/308 junction to Petit Lake and FSR 308 will be closed from the 311/308 junction to the 308/1362 junction

Best access to the Priest Lake area from the Colville National Forest will be through Newport, Washington via north U.S. 2 and Priest River via Highway 57.

“There are NO evacuations currently in place. However, when living in fire prone areas it is recommended that all area residents have an evacuation plan in place including having all important documents, pictures, prescriptions, and pets gathered up and easily transportable,” said the release.

Residents of Bonner County or Pend Oreille County can visit nixle.com or text their home zip code to 888777 to sign up for emergency alerts.

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