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Tundra Fire Could Pass Through Village Site

Jun 21, 2017

Smoke rises from a tundra fire between the Makushin village site and Volcano Bay.
Credit Courtesy Clint Huling

Updated post: 6/26 at 1:30 p.m

The Unalaska Department of Public Safety (UDPS) is investigating a tundra fire near Volcano Bay. The fire was reported by two area pilots earlier this month.

 

While the fire does not pose a threat to residents of Unalaska, UDPS is looking into where they fire started. At this point, they have been unable to determine a point of origin.

 

As of Friday, they estimate that the fire has burned 100 acres of land.

 

The investigation is ongoing. If you have any additional information, contact investigator Honan at 581-1233.

 

Original post: 6/22

A tundra fire could pass through what is left of the Makushin village site. When flying his airplane Saturday, Unalaska resident Clint Huling saw smoke and realized there was a fire between the Makushin village site and Volcano Bay.

“You don’t see a lot of open flame because it’s tundra," Huling said. "It’s very small fires, but there’s a very distinct smoke line and it runs all the way from the top of the ridge down to the lake.”

In 36 years living in Unalaska, this biggest blaze he’s seen. Huling says the fire is burning on Tanagusix Corporation land. That is the native corporation for the Unangan people of St. Paul.

He estimates the fire is a third of the way to the old village, and while it’s possible to extinguish, that decision would have to be made soon. If left to run its course, Huling believes the fire could consume 10 times the land it’s covered already.

At this time, the Unalaska Department of Public Safety was unable to be reached for comment.

This is a developing story.