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MailTribune.com
  • Wildfires near Bend send some smoke to the valley

    Fast-moving fires force evacuation of 250 homes
  • Smoke from a pair of wildfires burning more than 6,000 acres near Bend filled the Rogue Valley on Sunday.
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  • Smoke from a pair of wildfires burning more than 6,000 acres near Bend filled the Rogue Valley on Sunday.
    The pair of fires, known as the Two Bulls Fire, erupted west of Bend on Saturday afternoon, then grew overnight. The fires, burning on a mix of Deschutes National Forest and private land, hadn't merged as of Sunday morning but were being managed as one complex.
    About 250 households were evacuated and 2,000 more homes were threatened, but agencies had not reported any structure losses or injuries by Sunday afternoon.
    Strong winds from the north and northeast can channel smoke from Central Oregon into the Rogue Valley, said Marc Spilde, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Medford.
    "Smoke rises and gets to the level that it can be carried by the wind," he said.
    Smoke from the Bend fires has spread as far as Brookings and Northern California, the National Weather Service reported.
    In Bend, 24-hour air quality was in the unhealthy category as of 2 p.m. Sunday. In Medford, the 24-hour air quality remained in the good category, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
    For updates on air quality by city in Oregon, visit http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx.
    More than 300 firefighters were working Sunday afternoon to contain the Two Bulls Fire, which was also threatening Bend's municipal watershed. The city of Bend was using groundwater wells to provide municipal water and asked residents to conserve water, The Bulletin newspaper reported Sunday.
    Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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