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Crews corral blazes on Mount Hood

By SUE RYAN

News staff writer

August 26, 2006

Work by firefighters to hold a containment line along the southern edge of the Mount Hood fire held during Thursday.

Officials said the fire is contained at 50 percent at a total of 1,859 acres. The team managing the incident has estimated the fire will be fully contained by Sept. 4.

Crews that were on the mountain began coming off yesterday as they began pulling out of the smaller “spike” camps located away from the incident command at Mt. Hood Meadows.

Highway 35 remains open with restrictions of pilot cars from White River Sno-Park to Cooper Spur Road. Campground and trail closures remain in effect.

The Type II team that has been managing the fire will turn duties over to a Type III team at 6 a.m. on Sunday. Fire officials estimate that because of a quantity of unburned fuel in the fire area that patrols of the burn will have to continue until fall rain and snow return.

Firefighters are currently doing “mop-up” along the fire’s entire perimeter — extinguishing burning material within 200 to 300 feet of the line — but the fire will continue to burn within the interior of the fire line.

Additional planned work includes rehabilitation to reduce erosion, installation of water bars and fixing any roadways, pump sites and other places disturbed during suppression operations.

As of Thursday evening, a total of 635 personnel were assigned to the fire. The cost to date is $7.7 million.

A Burned Area Response Team will also continue work in the weeks ahead to assess the fire’s impact. These teams include people from the fire agencies as well as technical specialists dealing with environmental effects of the Mount Hood fire.

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