HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- Firefighters were dispatched early Wednesday morning to what was first estimated as a 50-acre wildfire about 12 miles south of Hood River. The acreage number was revised downward to 12 acres Wednesday evening, with the fire 50 percent contained by 3:30 p.m.

The fire ... appears to have ignited within an active timber harvest operation, said Rod Nichols of the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Photos: Wildfire burning south of Hood River

The Owens Fire, named after a ranch that once existed on the property, was moving across a clear-cut area and was fueled by downed trees, he said. The spread of the fire slowed after the dry logging slash was burned.

Despite dry conditions, crews were able to get a quick start on the fire and kept it from jumping a ridge and spreading east.

Nichols said one helicopter, six hand crews, three bulldozers, five fire engines, and several fire management personnel were at the scene late Wednesday morning.

By Wednesday afternoon, crews were happy with the progress they'd made and with the fact that the fire was burning away from nearby homes.

Stan Hinatsu with the U.S. Forest Service said a fire of this size, at this point in the season was troubling.

This is early for us to have a fire in this country, this early in this kind of terrain, Hinatsu said. Hopefully it's not a bad omen for the rest of the summer.

Neighbors said they're used to seeing wildfires spring up in the area, but were concerned about the timing as well.

Every year down here there are scary, dangerous fires. And if it's this early it does seem upsetting, said Hood River resident Bard Richmond.

Officials said the fire should be fully contained by about 6 p.m. Thursday if all goes well. At that time, the wildfire will likely be around 200 acres, Nichols estimated.

The exact cause was still under investigation.

Sky8 video: Wildfire burning near Hood River


Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report

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