Hope resident Chris Barker’s view southeast from Mount Hope last Thursday. (Chris Barker photo)

Long-exposure photo leads hikers to see magnitude of Washington fire

The fire is near Manning Park.

Hope resident Chris Barker and his friends were camping on the top of Mount Hope two Thursday nights ago when they saw a light red glow in the distance.

What he saw was a fire raging southeast of Manning Park, in Washington’s Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest.

”When I used my camera on a tripod and shot a long exposure, I could see how big it was,” he said. “There wasn’t too much more smoke and we couldn’t really see anything the next day but that could have just been from the wind direction.”

According to information provided by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG), representing various American governmental organizations, the “Diamond Creek Fire is burning in the steep slopes of the Diamond Creek drainage of the Pasayten Wilderness.”

The human-caused fire started around midnight on July 22 and is a 6,996-acre fire, and it remains about 13.6 kilometres south of the Canadian border, according to a incident update released on Wednesday. It was a 5,005-acre fire on Monday.

The fire was predicted to move west to east and down Diamond Creek, and north towards Dollar Watch Mountain.

The NWCG adds that an incident management team is working with local fire manager sto develop a strategy “which will take into account the current and predicted weather conditions, fire growth, and potential impacts to the surrounding communities.”

“The overall intent is to determine the most efficient way to protect values at risk with the least amount of exposure to firefighters,” it continued.

As of last Wednesday, 85 personnel are responding to the fire, with an estimated containment date of Oct. 15.

The NWCG added in a release on that Wednesday that helicopter operations were limited by smoke from Canadian fires.

“When they could, they continued dropping water in the Dollar Creek drainage,” it added. “Firefighters will continue taking action to confine the spread of the fire. Helicopters will be used to slow the fire growth by dropping water on the fire.”