- Associated Press - Monday, July 21, 2014

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - Cooler temperatures have helped firefighters make progress against a dozen large fires burning across Oregon, but officials said Monday that more lightning with the potential to start other blazes was expected in north-central Oregon in the days ahead.

Nearly 9,400 firefighting personnel were battling the fires that have burned 760 square miles in Oregon.

A low-pressure area moving in from the coast was expected to pass over north-central Oregon on Tuesday, bringing significant lightning from Hermiston south through John Day and Prineville, coordination center spokeswoman Katie Santini said.

“We had 108 new strikes Sunday in southeastern Oregon and are expecting to see more,” she said from Portland.

On Sunday, fire managers lifted a ban on rafting on a popular stretch of the Deschutes River near Warm Springs after a crews strengthened containment lines on the Shaniko Butte fire, fire spokeswoman Carol Connolly said.

Started by lighting a week ago, the fire was 50 percent contained after burning through 66 square miles of grass, brush and junipers mostly on the northeastern corner of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation.

Elsewhere, residents of 37 homes in the Ochoco Mountains south of Mitchell were allowed to return home after danger eased from the Waterman Complex fires.

U.S. Highway 26 remained closed at the Ochoco Summit east of Prineville. The fire was 35 percent contained after burning nearly 20 square miles of timber, brush and grass.

The Moccasin Hill fire, which burned 17 homes in a subdivision in Klamath County a week ago, was fully contained at 2,500 acres of mostly private timberland near Sprague River. The cause remained under investigation.

About 20 miles northwest of Sisters, about 45 homes along the Metolius River remained under an evacuation advisory due to the Bridge 99 fire, and residents of more than 800 others around Lake Billy Chinook were told to be ready to leave on short notice.

The fire was 20 percent contained after burning through about eight square miles of timber, brush and grass.

In the rugged rangelands east of Burns, the Buzzard Complex fires were 75 percent contained after burning across 576 square miles. Some scattered ranches were still under a low-level evacuation advisory. Some cattle have been found dead in the fire area.

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