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Firefighters push for progress Sunday

— Blackburn Fire Update from incident command:

Today is a good day to make progress on the fire because of cooler temperatures and lighter winds. However, a red flag warning has been issued for a threat of thunderstorms which can produce gusty, erratic winds. While the fire situation is improving, there is always a degree of uncertainty. If the wrong combination of fuels, wind and terrain materialize, firefighters could face difficult challenges today.

Most of the effort today will be on the northwest and west portions of the fire. The fire in this area has been the most active over the last few days but there are many areas that did not burn completely, resulting in areas of unburned brush and trees between the main fire and containment lines. Additionally, embers that have carried ahead of the fire have created spot fires that require crews to line and mop-up completely. Nearly three miles of fire hose has been used to deliver water to the hot spots.

Incident management personnel continue to emphasize safety as the highest priority and urge crews to remain vigilant. At this stage of the fire many trees have been partially burned but are still standing. This creates a significant hazard for crews working near them, because they can fall at any minute. Sawyers are falling many hazard trees so that crews can work safely through these areas.

Roads within the fire area remain closed to non-residential traffic.

Recreationists (including bow hunters and bicyclists) are reminded that the Mt. Hood National Forest has implemented an area closure in proximity to the Blackburn Fire. Listings of the road, trail, campground, and general area closures may be found at the Forest web site: Mt Hood National Forest (http://www.fs.usda.gov/mthood) and at http://inciweb.org/incident/maps/3662/

Government Flat Complex at a glance:

Total Complex Acreage: 12,070 Blackburn Fire Acreage: 11,775

Complex Containment: 35 Percent Total Personnel Assigned: 1,095

Structures Lost to the Fire: 4 homes/9 outbuildings. Structures currently threatened: 83 residential/82 outbuildings

Cost of the Incident to Date: $9.3 million

Resources: 40 crews/44engines/1 structural task forces/12 dozers/14 water tenders/11 helicopters

Ownerships involved: Private, U.S. Forest Service, City of The Dalles, Bureau of Land Management and industrial lands owned by SDS Lumber.

Cooperators include Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State Fire Marshal, BLM, USDA Forest Service, City of The Dalles, Wasco County Sheriff’s Office, Wasco County Emergency Operations Center, Hood River County Division of Emergency Management, Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, American Red Cross, Oregon National Guard, and Oregon State Police.

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