Smoke from Miller Complex Fire affecting Applegate residents

Applegate, Oregon — The Miller Complex Fire has burned more than 11,000 acres in the Applegate.

According to the incident management team, the Miller Complex Fire was originally composed of 22 different fires.

Now, firefighters are dealing with five and it’s the smoke that’s affecting many.

“I don’t recall in my time here that we’ve had this many fires,” Applegate Valley resident Tom Taylor said.

Tom Taylor has lived in the Applegate for 21 years.

He’s not worried about the flames of the Miller Complex fire yet.

It’s the smoke that has him concerned.

“Because of the horses I have to be outdoors a little bit everyday so i can’t just stay indoors,” Medford Resident Steven Carter said.

Steven Carter shares the same concerns.

“No matter where the wind blows there’s a fresh supply of smoke,” Carter said.

Carter works with the Valley Paragliding Association, but flight restrictions have left him grounded.

Both men were at a community meeting Wednesday hoping for answers.

“The fires themselves are slow moving and in relatively remote areas so people aren’t at eminent risk of harm,” Carter said.

It’s that low risk of harm that’s made it difficult to get enough resources to fight the fire.

“Our strategy is to let it slowly burn, clean up the litter underneath and have a clean burn until we get to the point like a road we’re gonna hold it there and keep it from spreading,” Manuel Madrigal said.

While it may take longer to get the flames and smoke under control, both Taylor and Carter are now home secure in the knowledge firefighters are doing all they can to keep the Applegate safe.

“They don’t have as many resources as they would like, but they’re doing a good job,” Taylor said.

The incident management team says it’s possible Applegate Valley residents could be seeing flames and smoke until mid October.

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