The East Fork Fire is no longer threatening lower Yukon River communities

An aerial photo of smoldering tundra
Federal fire officials determined that the East Fork Fire is no longer a threat to lower Yukon River villages as of June 25, 2022. (BLM photo)

Federal fire officials say that the East Fork Fire is no longer threatening lower Yukon River communities.

The 166,587-acre fire has burned for nearly a month near the communities of St. Mary’s, Pitkas Point, Pilot Station and Mountain Village. The fire stopped growing south toward the communities over a week ago. In recent days, it’s also stopped growing north and even begun retreating downhill.

In an online update, fire officials say that several Native allotments along the Andreafsky River remain at potential risk from the fire, but the nearest cabin sits 5 miles away. Firefighters have buffered these allotments to reduce the risk of fire, and crews can provide additional protection if needed.

Cooler, moist weather forecast in the coming days is expected to reduce the fire risk even more.

Fire crews determined that another fire that had been burning nearby, the Apoon Pass Fire, is no longer active.

Firefighters remain in the area and are demobilizing equipment like pumps and hoses around St. Mary’s.

Smoke from the fire will continue to persist. Residents can monitor air quality from a sensor at the St. Mary’s Elementary School.

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Anna Rose MacArthur is a reporter at KYUK in Bethel.