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Blaze Chars Rural Land

DALLAS -- A wildfire northwest of Dallas burned 32 acres of brush, grass, trees and debris Saturday afternoon before firefighters from 14 agencies were able to contain it.Named the Butler Hill Fire, the blaze also slowed traffic near milepost six on Highway 22 during the time the fire was the most intense.Initially estimated to be much larger due to the steep terrain -- up to 200 acres -- the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) reported the size of the fire to be just 32 acres.Dallas Fire Chief Bill Hahn said crews and equipment from departments in Salem, Marion County, Keizer, Depoe Bay, North Lincoln, McMinnville, Newberg, Amity, Willamina, Sheridan, Polk County Fire No. 1, Dallas, Falls City and Rickreall, as well as ODF, responded to the fire.Firefighters received help from Weyerhaeuser, which used a helicopter to drop water on the fire, and a local resident who used heavy equipment to clear perimeter fire lines.Polk County Sheriff's Office and Oregon Department of Transportation also helped with traffic control on the highway briefly Saturday afternoon.Hahn said the initial call was at 1:07 p.m. Saturday and crews, except those monitoring the fire for flare ups, left at about 11:30 p.m.A smaller group of firefighters were called out a second time at about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday and remained until 7 a.m., Hahn said. Crews monitored the scene throughout Sunday.The fire burned on land owned by multiple entities, including ODF, Weyerhaeuser and private owners.Hahn said while the source of the fire may have been a mower running over a rock causing sparks, the official cause has yet to be determined."Forestry is still investigating," he said.

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