PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Good weekend weather helped firefighters get the upper hand on large wildfires in southeastern Oregon, and crews were able to contain the state's largest wildfire in more than a century.
The Long Draw Fire is largely extinguished and is not growing past containment lines that were completed Sunday night, officials said. The blaze has charred more than 900 square miles, a larger swath of Oregon than any fire since the 1800s.
Another blaze south of Burns was 70 percent contained, and a handful of evacuated residents were allowed to return and assess the damage to their property.
The Miller Homestead Fire had threatened a handful of homes around Harney Lake, and about a dozen residents were told to be ready to flee the unincorporated hamlet of Frenchglen, but officials said Monday the danger had eased.
The Miller Homestead Fire had charred about 250 square miles.
Rancher Gary Miller, who lives near Frenchglen, said he'd lost about 45 of his 300 cattle in the blaze, and the number was still rising as he located more animals that were injured and needed to be euthanized.
Much of his grazing land was charred, he said.
"It's a huge impact, like any disaster," he said. "It's our livelihood. And the damages are hard to assess, truthfully, because we're going to be living with this for months if not years."
Several neighbors had stepped up to help while he figures out what to do next, he said. Miller is grazing some of his surviving cattle on a neighbor's land, and another has offered him 100 tons of hay, he said.
Meanwhile, crews at the Long Draw Fire were patrolling containment lines and trying to protect large unburned patches inside the fire's perimeter, said Trish Hogervorst, a fire information officer. Some firefighters were being sent home or to other blazes.
"There might be some islands burning in the middle, but there's a good solid line around the outside that's cold," Hogervorst said.
Fire crews benefited from better-than-expected weekend weather, she said. Temperatures were lower and humidity higher.
A pair of smaller fires, the Bonita and Iron fires, were close to containment Monday at 8,304 acres and 9,884 acres, responectively.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press