The Milepost 97 Fire burning south of Canyonville grew to 11,668 acres Monday morning.

Containment on the largest fire on the conterminous West Coast remains low at 10%, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry. ODF doesn't have an estimate of when the fire will be contained.

Officials overseeing the fire were optimistic about making progress Monday.

"Today's a great day for opportunity," said incident commander Link Smith at a morning briefing to firefighters.

The fire, which began Wednesday, grew more than 5,000 acres over the weekend. It slowed between Sunday and Monday morning, adding about 500 acres. Officials believe an illegal campfire started the fire. The cost to fight the fire so far is estimated at $3 million.

A marine layer bringing cooler temperatures, cloud cover and higher humidity was expected to enter the area Monday, creating the opportunity for progress.

"These conditions should allow fire crews closer access to the fire’s edge and the ability to perform burn out operations that removes forest fuels between established control lines and the main fire," read an ODF press release.

The fire is continuing to move at a slow pace in a southern direction, paralleling Interstate 5, according to the press release. Firefighters are focusing much of their suppression efforts on the southern part of the fire to prevent further spread toward local communities.

Kyle Reed, a spokesman with the Douglas Forest Protective Association, said fire activity was calmer late Monday morning.

The fire has been burning on the west side of Interstate 5, nearly reaching the roadway at multiple points. Firefighters suppressed spot fires on the east side of the highway over the weekend.

The Oregon Department of Transportation reduced southbound traffic to one lane due to fire activity on Sunday.

Motorists on their way to a community meeting with the incident management team at Glendale High School saw heavy traffic on Sunday evening.

More than 500 structures are threatened by the fire. Large areas south of the fire on both sides of I-5 are in evacuation warnings. Residents in Azalea and Galesville have been in a Level 2 "Set" warning since Saturday, meaning people should be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. People as far south as Glendale are in a Level 1 "Be Ready" warning.

There is 1,265 personnel currently at the fire with 1,044 firefighters split into a day and a night shift.

Resources include 48 hand crews, 41 engines, 45 dozers and 14 water tenders. Additionally, there are 13 helicopters and multiple airplanes at the incident.

Officials said safety is of utmost importance after a firefighter was injured by rolling debris shortly after midnight on Monday morning.

"The firefighter was evaluated and treated on scene and transported by air to Rogue Valley Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment," read a press release. "The firefighter was released this morning."

Max Egener can be reached at and 541-957-4217. Or follow him on Twitter @maxegener.

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City Reporter

Max Egener is the city reporter for The News-Review. He has a master's degree from the University of Oregon, and is an avid skier and backpacker.

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