Fire crews battling Oregon's biggest fire have finally gotten the upper hand. Chris Cline, Oregon Department of Forestry incident commander for the Oregon Gulch fire said that crews have completed the line around the eastern tip of the fire.
"We pushed it from the north, we pushed it from the south in California and just kept pinching and pinching and pinching and we stopped it yesterday, " Cline said. "This fire is 100 percent lined. It's not 100 percent contained, it's sitting at about 35 percent as of last night ... but I think we're gonna hold it here."
Cline spoke at a briefing held Wednesday morning for Governor John Kitzhaber at the Howard Prairie Lake campground, which is being used as base camp for the firefighting effort.
Kitzhaber praised the efforts of the crews on the ground, as well as the coordination efforts of fire managers in both Oregon and California.
The governor also called for Congress to address bills to fund firefighting efforts, as well as pay for forest health projects that would thin overgrown forests and reduce future fire danger.
"These fires are a symptom of a much larger forest health issue," he said. "We just have to begin to deal with the root causes. That means lending some urgency to improving the health and resiliency of our forests ... There's no reason in the world we should be doing this year after year."
The nearly 1,600 personnel fighting the fire are still working hot spots and reinforcing the encircling line. ODF spokesperson Link Smith said the next few days will be crucial.
"We've still got all our forces out here. we've got a lot of iron, we've got a lot of air support still, all our personnel are still here, and we've just gonna keep strengthening those lines and making sure this thing doesn't get away. "
Copyright 2014 Jefferson Public Radio