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Environment

Iowithla River fire now 19,500 acres and just 9.3 miles from Dillingham

Russel Nelson Iowithla fire 2.JPG
Russel Nelson
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A aerial view of the Iowithla Fire near Dillingham. June 13, 2022.

The Iowithla River fire is now only 9.3 miles from Dillingham. The Alaska Division of Forestry dispatched one plane Tuesday to douse the flames. However, smoke prevented the plane from flying to the area, according to an update from the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.

A Division of Forestry official said Wednesday afternoon that several planes from King Salmon are dropping water on the blaze today. There are no staff on the fire now, but they will continue to monitor the fire’s progression towards Dillingham and other nearby structures.

The flames are about two feet high and so far it has burned around 19,500 acres.

Smoke from the Iowithla fire is blowing into Dillingham and may cause breathing problems. The Dillingham Fire Department recommends that sensitive or compromised individuals wear N-95 masks until air quality improves.

N-95 masks are available for free downtown at city hall or in the blue building in the harbor next to Tide Table.

The Division of Forestry is currently monitoring 46 fires around southwest Alaska. Cooler weather and rain is expected in the area later this week and a burn ban is in effect in the community.

This is a developing story

Get in touch with the author at brian@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.