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Hundreds of firefighters working blaze west of Junction City

Air tanker drops retardant (Junction City Fire photo)

JUNCTION CITY, Ore. - Over 200 firefighters are working a wildfire burning on public and private timberlands west of Junction City, the Oregon Department of Forestry said Friday.

Two air tankers and 4 helicopters are supporting firefighting from the air, forestry said.

The High Pass 12.5 Fire broke out Thursday morning.

Smoke was visible from Highway 99 and Junction City, but no structures are threatened and there are no evacuation notices, fire officials said.

The estimates on the fire's size grew throughout the day Thursday.

By Friday morning, the fire was estimated at 200 acres and 10 percent.

With hot, windy conditions in the forecast and tinder dry conditions in the woods, the local Oregon Department of Forestry office has called in a 33-person overhead team. The team includes firefighting experts and support staff from across the state.

In wildfire management, transferring command of the fire to an overhead team is an indication of complexity of the fire, weather and terrain facing firefighters.

Firefighters are also receiving assistance from the Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, and private landowners and forest workers.

Much of the region is now under an emergency closure and shutdown due to the fire danger.

"Many workers unable to work due to the shutdown will be able to assist the district with the fire," the forestry department said. "Fire officials are hopeful that the recent heat wave will come to an end soon."

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