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South Obenchain fire 55% contained Sunday

Firefighters on the South Obenchain fire were able to push as far as 300 feet into the blaze’s perimeter Sunday during mop up work.

The fire was considered 55% contained and had grown to 32,671 acres, according to fire officials. There are more than 900 personnel assigned to the fire, with apparatuses that include two light helicopters, three medium helicopters, three helicopters, 44 fire engines, 18 bulldozers, 26 water tenders and five skidgens — tracked vehicles similar to dozers.

“We’re getting to be in a really good spot. It’s getting to that point where we’re just mopping up,” said Natalie Weber, public information officer for the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwest Division. “All of our lines have been holding for several days now, and they’ve been able to make some really good progress.”

Crews have also begun removing hose lines, cleaning up dozer lines, and fence repairs on parts of the fire line.

“It’s a slow process, because you have to be very thorough,” Weber said.

An update on the number of structures destroyed was not available. As of Friday, the fire had destroyed 32 homes and 56 other structures such as outbuildings and barns, fire officials said.

The town of Butte Falls has recently opened back up to residents, with proof of residence required to make access. Residents east of Salt Creek Road and north of Highway 140 area also allowed to return home An up-to-date evacuation map is available at www.jacksoncounty.org/evacuation.

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com.

Inciweb photo of South Obenchain fire.