MOSIER - Fire crews Sunday gained the upper hand on the fire threatening the small town of Mosier west of The Dalles.
By Friday the Microwave Fire had burned 650 acres, wasn't contained and was threatening the town. That prompted Gov. Ted Kulongoski to declare the fire a conflagration, allowing him to order the Oregon State Police and the Oregon State Fire Marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to help local departments battling the blaze.
At that point the fire was 650 acres in size and had consumed three homes and a barn. OSP helped evacuate Mosier residents.
The Oregon Department of Forestry reported the fire had grown to 1,250 acres Sunday, but crews had built containment lines around the entirety of the fire and had contained 65 percent of it.
With the fire under control, Mosier residents made their way back home Sunday, and task forces from the state fire marshal's office began leaving. To date, crews have protected more than 150 structures during the episode, according to an ODF news release.
So far, the Microwave Fire has cost more than a $1 million to fight and has taken 768 workers, 26 crews, six helicopters, 32 engines, three dozers and nine water tenders.
The state has closed the State Historic Columbia River Highway Trail and the Hatfield east and west trail heads. For current road information, log onto www.tripcheck.com.
The state also has shut down public access to roads leading into the fire perimeter. Fire officials urge everyone to use extra caution when returning to areas the fire has affected. Firefighting resources are going to be in the area so drivers should remain alert and slow down for emergency vehicles and firefighters.