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Oregon fire out after almost 6 months

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MEDFORD, Oregon (CNN) -- The Biscuit wildfire burning in southwest Oregon since mid-July was finally declared out Tuesday, 172 days after it began, forestry officials said.

Sparked by a lightning strike July 13, the fire grew quickly in the tinder-dry forest and steep terrain of the Siskiyou National Forest, eventually burning a total of 500,000 acres, said Mary Marrs, spokeswoman for the Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests.

It was the largest fire this summer in Oregon, she said.

At its peak, nearly 7,000 firefighters and support personnel were battling the flames. Many of them had already worked long hours fighting wildfires in Alaska in the early part of the year.

Alaska was the only state to have suffered more burned acreage from wildfires than Oregon. Alaska had 2,267,380 acres burned statewide and Oregon lost 1,010,844.

Marrs said heavy rainstorms finally ended the Biscuit fire. "The last two weeks, we've had several storm fronts coming through the Northwest, so we had anticipated with the weather predictions on December 31, we could declare it out," she said.

The Siskiyou National Forest is in the lush, wet terrain of the Klamath Mountains and the southwest Oregon coast. Part of the forest stretches into northwest California and the Siskiyou Mountain Range.

In the center of the Siskiyou is a wilderness with no roads or trails, Marrs said, which made it especially difficult for fire crews to reach the flames.

"A majority of the area is very steep and inaccessible to the terrain, so just ... getting to where the fire is was a challenge," she said.

Fire officials declared the Biscuit fire contained September 8, which meant the fire line was established entirely around the fire.

On November 8 it was ruled controlled, and officials said they were certain the fire would not escape the fire line or reburn any areas.

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