Tag Archives: Diamond Creek Fire

Harts Pass Road Closed On Eve Of High Buck Hunt Due To Wildfire

Bad news on the eve of Washington’s High Buck Hunt.

The Harts Pass Road has been closed due to the 119,000-acre Diamond Creek Fire in western Okanogan County.

THE DIAMOND CREEK FIRE IN LATE AUGUST NEAR COUGAR LAKE IN THE PASAYTEN WILDERNESS. (SARA BILLINGS, INCIWEB)

The announcement was made this morning by fire managers that the gravel road leading from Mazama to Slate Peak is closed at the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest boundary just past Lost River Airport.

Harts Pass is a key access point for the Sept. 15-25 early rifle deer season, serving as a jumpoff into the Pasayten.

Many hunters hike into the sprawling wilderness, while others sit along the boundary and glass for bucks in the high meadows.

Today’s road closure follows on previous area and trail closures affecting nearly all of the Pasayten.

SILVER STAR MOUNTAIN FROM SLATE PEAK, AT THE TOP OF THE HARTS PASS ROAD. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The Diamond Creek Fire began in late July and had made an initial move south before largely burning to the north through August and across the Canadian border.

But it has begun heading south again, leading to yesterday’s level 2 evacuation notice for Mazama.

Today’s forecast includes a red flag warning there due to forecasted north winds.

By Sunday, there’s a 50 percent chance of rain.

For the latest developments, monitor Inciweb, #DiamondCreekFire on Twitter and Diamond Creek Fire on Facebook.

Yes, There Are Fires; No, Washington Hunting Season Isn’t Closed

You can breathe easy (but not too deep), fellas: Just because Washington is the earthly equivalent of Mordor at the moment does not mean hunting seasons are closed.

NO, NOT, MT. DOOM, JUST THE UNO PEAK FIRE BURNING ON A COUPLE THOUSAND ACRES IN THE 4 MILLION-PLUS ACRES OF THE OKANOGAN-WENATCHEE NATIONAL FOREST. (INCIWEB)

Yes, there are fires; yes, it’s smokey as hell; yes, the sun’s this weird pink-red orb thing; yes, the moon’s orange; yes, the gods have dandruff; yes, I’m hacking up chunks of the Norse Peak Wilderness, but …

“No Washington hunting seasons are closed due to wildfires.”

So says WDFW this afternoon after reporting Eastside offices have been getting calls from hunters concerned about the wildfires burning in the Cascades.

But as firefighters battle blazes like Jolly Mountain, Norse Peak and others, be aware that some lands have been closed to allow them to do their jobs — for which we’re all thankful for — as well as to ensure public safety.

Say, so that nice big buck, bull, bruin or blue grouse you just bagged  — along with yourself — doesn’t get barbecued on the spot.

“For example, current access closures from the Jolly Mountain fire in Kittitas County affect the Teanaway Game Management Unit (GMU 335); closures from the Jack Creek fire just to the north in Chelan County affect access to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area (where some Sept. 15-25 High Buck Hunts traditionally occur); closures from the Norse Peak and American Ridge fires affect the Little Naches and Bumping River Game Management Units (GMUs 346 and 356); as the closures expand west of the Pacific Crest Trail into Pierce and King counties, the White River GMU (653) may also be affected,” says WDFW.

The Diamond Peak Fire closures in the Pasayten Wilderness will also affect this month’s High Buck Hunt.

The agency points out that there are many other options available across the state to most hunters.

Yeah, as someone who got locked out of my woods due to 2007’s Tripod Fire and had to hunt some utterly deerless terrain in Chelan County, that sucks, but it’s not the end of the world.

“Special draw permit holders unable to access any area for which a permit is valid, due to wildfire closures, will be contacted by WDFW about possible point restoration,” the agency adds, but notes that refunds aren’t available as tags are still good in general seasons.

Best way to stay on top of the changing conditions is through Inciweb.

It’s got daily updates, maps, photos, links, you name it to stay abreast of any restrictions or lifting of them as conditions moderate as we move out of this godawfully long, hot, dry summer. Eventually, I suppose.

In the meanwhile, remember, there’s a statewide burn ban, so no campfires and for god’s sake, no fireworks!