Tundra wildfire creeps closer toward Alaska Native community

A tundra wildfire has moved closer to an Alaska Native community in southwest Alaska, but mandatory evacuations have not been ordered.

Fire officials Sunday said the East Fork fire was within 3.5 miles of St. Mary’s. Even though it had moved 1.5 miles closer to the Yup’ik community since Saturday, fire managers said the progress has slowed somewhat because of favorable weather conditions.

Firefighters are working to strengthen primary and secondary fire lines protecting St. Mary’s and the nearby communities of Pitkas Point and Mountain Village and properties, including cabins, between them. About 150 people have voluntarily relocated to Bethel.