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Changing weather could help crews fighting the Eagle Creek Fire

Thick smoke billows from the Eagle Creek Fire burning in the Columbia River Gorge Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. (Photo: Chopper 2/KATU)

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CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. – Calmer wind and cooler temperatures are helping slow the westward progress of the Eagle Creek Fire.

The wildfire burning in the Columbia River Gorge was last measured at more than 32,000 acres Wednesday morning.

Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service in Portland issued some good news. Forecasters say the wind from the east that was blowing the fire toward Portland has stopped in the Eagle Creek Fire area.

This means much less ash should fall in the Portland Metro area Wednesday.

It also means the smoke could blow the other direction, toward Hood River and The Dalles.

Wednesday morning, air quality was still registering as “unhealthy” and “unhealthy for sensitive groups” in the Portland metro area.

Even more smoke could be heading toward northwestern Oregon. The National Weather Service says the wind will start blowing from the south, bringing smoke north from fires in southern Oregon and California.

The temperature also dropped overnight Tuesday. Rather than 90-degree temperatures, Wednesday is supposed to only climb to the 80s.

Firefighters are still working to protect structures, but the fire isn’t growing as fast.

The Archer Mountain Fire on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge was last measured at 25 acres.

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