Work wraps up on Monument Complex

Brian Spivey and Scott Wryn, both of Heppner, listen to Jon Blanc before conducting a back burn while fighting the Monument Complex fire Wednesday in the Umatilla National Forest north of Monument.<I><BR>Photo by E.J. Harris of the East Oregonian</I>

MONUMENT - Fire crews had the Monument Complex 95 percent contained as of Tuesday, July 31, with full containment expected by nightfall.

At full containment, the Northwest Oregon Incident Management Team was turning the operations over to the Umatilla National Forest and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).

Crews were still watchful as warm and dry weather was predicted through Wednesday, with potential thunderstorm activity predicted for Thursday.

"I appreciate the tremendous support we've received from the community," said Incident Commander Carl West. "Even though we've filled up their town with firefighters, they haven't complained, and have gone out of their way to show us their support."

The fire reached 54,000 acres before it was lined and contained. It started after lightning swept through the area July 13. At one time, more than 1,000 people were staffing the fire. On July 31, the staffing was down to 448.

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