By Tom Gower-Byrne, BBC NewsNorthern Alaska has been devastated by a wildfire that has forced the evacuation of more than 700 people.
The blaze, which broke out on Friday and forced the closure of roads, has also destroyed more than 600 homes and forced at least 25,000 people to seek shelter.
The blaze was first spotted on a ridge in the Tukwila National Forest near the town of Tuklump and quickly spread to the town’s downtown.
“It has been raging for about a week and it has now started to spread,” Tuku’waktuk fire chief Doug Pate said.
“It’s really a catastrophe and it’s taking a huge toll on people and their communities.”
We’ve lost hundreds of structures, and there’s just been a lot of devastation.
There’s a lot going on in Tukmulump, but it’s all spread across the town.
“The town of 1,600 is located near the northern tip of the state.
It’s a long way between the two. “
There’s only about two miles between Tukhilump and Tukulump.
It’s a long way between the two.
We’ve had to make some difficult decisions and that’s a decision we’ll make again tomorrow.”
There’s no question it’s going to cause significant hardship and hardship in the communities, so we’ve made a decision today to make the evacuation.
“Residents in Tumuk are still being urged to return to their homes, but Pate added that they should be allowed to return later in the week.”
The Tukwaqasq tribe said it was assisting evacuees with transportation and other needs.””
We’re going to keep everyone safe, but we want to make sure that people have the proper time to get home safely.”
The Tukwaqasq tribe said it was assisting evacuees with transportation and other needs.
“The tribal government is doing everything we can to provide relief to the communities in Tuskuk, and the Tuskuka-Tukwa’kaweq Tribe has been working closely with the National Weather Service in Alaska to ensure that the evacuation is managed safely and efficiently,” the tribe’s statement said.
In an emailed statement, Alaska Gov.
Bill Walker said: “I want to assure everyone that there is no reason for anyone to be concerned about their safety.
I am in regular contact with our federal, state, tribal, local, and international partners to ensure a swift and safe response to the devastating wildfire.”
More to come.