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Crews shrink on local fire

— The Government Flats Complex Fire was listed at 85 percent contained Wednesday night, and fire crews are down to 552 personnel, about half of what was used at the height of the fire.

The fire size is still listed at 11,434 acres, and the largest of the three fires, the Blackburn Fire, has consumed 11,221 acres. Crews will continue to secure established containment lines and mop up the fire’s edges.

While rain is in the forecast for today, the weekend will bring significant changes in fire conditions, a press release stated. Meteorologists are calling for warmer and drier weather with unstable air conditions that tend to promote active fire behavior. Crews will take advantage of cooler conditions over the next two days to gain the upper hand. Rain is expected to return Monday, the release stated.

There is currently an area closure on some roads, trails and facilities within the Mt Hood National Forest in the vicinity of the fire. Listings of the road, trail and

campground area closures may be found at these web sites: Mt Hood National Forest Area Closure or http://inciweb.org/incident/maps/3662/

The fire has reached a point where management of it was transferred this morning to an organization that handles less complex events, said David Morman, central Oregon district information officer for the Oregon Department of Forestry.

It has gone from a Type II organization to a Type III organization, he said.

“Once they get full containment on the fire, at some point they’ll turn it back over to the Dalles unit office,” Morman said. “It will go more to a patrol status, so there won’t be necessarily people out there every day working, but there’ll be people checking it every day until there’s a season-ending rain event.”

Fire manages have not yet said when they expect full containment.

Even after the fire is considered contained, he said, “There’ll be heat out there in spots, but they’re systematically mopping it up.”

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