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Bull Complex Grows, But Not Immediate Threat To Santiam Canyon Communities


The Bull Complex Fireeast of Salem is still growing, but so far weather conditions mean the blaze isn’t threatening the Santiam Canyon communities that were devastated by wildfire a year ago.



The Bull Complex started as five fires that have since merged into one. It’s now more than 10,000 acres. But while the fire is very close to the footprint of the wildfires that nearly wiped out the communities of Detroit and Gates last September, fire crews don’t expect a repeat of that inferno.


For one thing, there are no strong east winds in the forecast, said public information officer Jesse Bender:


“We also haven’t had those same dry temperatures for the last couple of weeks that late August of 2020 had," she said. "So we’re in a little better condition as far as the vegetation goes as well.” 

Bender said fire crews are actively working to suppress the Bull Complex, which is in a remote spot of Mt. Hood National Forest. As of Monday afternoon, the fire was 3 percent contained. There are no current mandatory evacuations as a result of the blaze, but the Breitenbush Hot Springs Resort is under a Level 1 "Be Ready" evacuation. The resort was heavily damaged during last year's wildfires and is operating on a very limited basis.


While the flames aren't directly threatening any communities, smoke from the fire could affect air quality in the area. The Oregon Department of Envrionmental Quality said Detroit, Lyons, Mill City and nearby towns could be impacted.


The agency also issued an air quality advisory for Deschutes, Jackson, Klamath, Harney, Malheur and Lake Counties until at least Wednesday afternoon due to smoke from several wildfires in both Oregon and California.


Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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