Part of Highway 138 near Diamond Lake could be closed today as firefighters seek to fortify a road-based fire line meant to keep the expanding portion of the National Creek Complex fire in check as flames move north out of Crater Lake National Park.
The Crescent fire portion of the two-fire complex grew by more than 1,000 acres Wednesday and was listed at 9 a.m. at nearly 8,000 acres and still just 10 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Crews today are awaiting favorable weather conditions to begin burning brush and other downed wood along the park's North Entrance Road that intersects with Highway 138. This so-called "back burning" is designed to rob the encroaching fire of fuels and keep it from jumping the roadway, which is considered a major Crescent fire retention line.
When back burning occurs, Highway 138 could be closed between mileposts 84 and 86 or vehicles could be escorted by pilot cars as firefighters work nearby, according to the Forest Service.
Crews also will be monitoring Highway 230 to pounce upon any spot fires that cross the roadway and threaten to extend the fire's boundaries, the Forest Service reported. Firefighters are wary that 12 mph winds could push hot embers over the roadway and into extremely dry stands of lodgepole pine prime for ignition, according to the Forest Service.
All of Highway 230 between Highway 62 near Union Creek and Highway 138 near Diamond Lake has been closed since Friday as it, too, has served as a major containment line.
Other crews will be scouting the fire's southern boundary near the closed Forest Service Road 3703 for spot fires jumping that line as crews continue using bulldozers and hand crews to scratch a fire line toward the Bert Creek trailhead today, according to the Forest Service.
Diamond Lake Resort and the lake's recreation area remain open but accessed from the Rogue Valley through Roseburg. No new closures nor changes in the stand-by evacuation notice for the Diamond Lake area were issued this morning.
The nearby National fire on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest near the Rogue-Umpqua Divide was this morning at 120 acres, boosting the complex's official total acreage this morning to 8,040 acres.