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Puzzle Fire grows slowly.

Byline: The Register-Guard

The Puzzle Fire north of Santiam Junction grew to 4,305 acres on Tuesday as the Cascade Crest Complex has now consumed 19,812 acres.

Fire crews have not contained the fire at all yet, according to the team of national forest and Oregon Department of Forestry officials supervising the firefighting effort.

In addition to the Puzzle Fire, the Black Crater and Lake George fires make up the Cascade Complex.

Slightly more than 1,000 firefighters, backed by nine helicopters, two airplanes, 30 fire engines, seven bulldozers and 23 water tenders, are still fighting the fires.

Firefighters on the Puzzle Fire began connecting previous fire lines on the west side of the fire to lines north and south. Bulldozers also improved roads outside the Mount Jefferson Wilderness area built during the B&B Fire in 2003.

Tuesday's westerly winds slowed the growth of the Puzzle Fire, which is five miles east of Marion Forks, and kept it from moving into Bingham Basin. Its cause is under investigation. The same weather is expected today.

However, fire officials expect the fire to reach Bingham Basin, which has more fuels and will cause it to grow.

Crews finished mop-up work on the Black Crater Fire, which will now be patrolled by the air. Fire officials said the Lake George Fire was relatively inactive Tuesday, with mop-up efforts continuing.

Meadow and Link Lakes remain closed, as are areas within the Deschutes and Willamette national forests in and around the Mount Washington Wilderness. Trails and other recreational sites are also closed.

National forest officials have also closed most of the Mount Jefferson Wilderness area and surrounding forest.
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Title Annotation:Fires
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 23, 2006
Previous Article:Duplex fire damage worth $120,000.
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