A wildfire burning in a remote part of Southwest Alaska has grown to at least 2,000 acres and fire managers with the Alaska Division of Forestry are still trying to get a firm handle on the size of the fire.
A wind shift late Monday afternoon slowed the spread of the Medfra Fire burning approximately 50 miles northeast of McGrath but the wind shifted again on Tuesday afternoon and starting blowing from the east, causing the fire to once again begin spreading to the south and west. Two smoke columns were visible, one on the northeast corner of the fire and one on the southwest corner.
Fire managers expected the Medfra Fire to merge with another smaller fire burning a few miles to the north, the Berry Creek Fire, on Monday but as of late Tuesday afternoon that had not happened, though it is still a definite possibility. The Berry Creek Fire was last estimated at 320 acres on Monday afternoon but, like the Medfra Fire, is probably considerably larger.
The Division of Forestry has approximately 90 personnel working on the Medfra Fire. The main objectives at this point are keeping the fire on the north side of the Kuskokwim River and protecting two Native allotments, one of which has a cabin on it, about a mile south of the fire. No other structures are threatened at this point. No structures or allotments are threatened by the Berry Creek Fire at this time.
Both the Medfra and Berry Creek fires were started on Sunday as a result of holdover fires from the Soda Creek Fire that burned approximately 16,500 acres in the same area last summer.