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Crews, helicopters tackle wildfires in Oregon; cooler temperatures, higher humidity helping

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DAYVILLE, Oregon — Slightly cooler than expected temperatures and higher humidity have helped firefighters get a better handle on a massive fire burning in central Oregon about 11 miles south of Dayville, fire officials said Sunday.

One cabin has burned and other structures on scattered ranches are threatened, fire incident spokesman Brian Ballou said.

The blaze had burned nearly 26,000 acres, or about 40 square miles, on the west side of the South Fork John Day River. It was about 10 percent contained.

Crews are setting new fire lines and improving ones already in place as they battle the Corner Creek Fire, Ballou said. "It's getting more favorable as the temperature drops and humidity inches up," he said Sunday afternoon.

A forest closure has been issued for a part of the Ochoco National Forest. Several roads, trails and campgrounds are also closed.

To the west, helicopter and air tankers were slowing the growth of a fire that broke out Saturday and spread rapidly through forested hills above Big Cliff Dam along Highway 22.

The cause of that 70-acre fire west of Detroit Lake is under investigation.

Russ Lane, the incident commander, said Sunday's goal is to knock down the fire by air and get a containment line around it on the ground. About 100 people are working the fire, with help from five helicopters.

The Oregon Department of Forestry said Sunday that there are no road or recreational closures caused by the fire. But the agency cautioned the public to be careful when traveling in the area. It says fire-related traffic is heavy in the vicinity of the Big Cliff Dam.

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