Navajo Nation

The Northern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross has been notified by the Navajo County Emergency Management Office that multiple wildfires are burning along State Route 377 and evacuations are underway. A Red Cross shelter has been opened for the evacuees and is located at: Martinez Hall at Navajo County Fairgrounds, 404 E. Hopi Drive in Holbrook, AZ 86025.

The Martinez Hall shelter is available to people needing assistance, shelter, food and information.

A prescribed burn project is planned tonight on the Coconino National Forest in the Mogollon Rim Ranger District, approximately seven miles southeast of Mormon Lake.

Weather and ventilation is forecasted tomorrow to transport and disperse smoke toward the northeast, which may impact Winslow.

Prescribed burns are always dependent upon weather and wind conditions, which can differ drastically across the forest. Prescribed burns are also subject to approval from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, so this burn could be canceled if conditions are not suitable.

The Naschitti evacuation order has been lifted.  Residents within the two-mile radius of Mile Post (MP) 43, NM HWY 491 may return to their homes. The southbound lanes of Hwy 491 are open to two-way traffic. The northbound lane is still closed as Hazardous Materials teams are working on clean-up of the site.

The evacuation order was due to a semi-trailer that turned over and caught fire.All that is known about the substance at this time is that it contains flammable materials. The cause of the hazardous materials incident is under investigation.

The Assayii Lake Fire containment is now at 98% and is estimated at 14,712 acres. Management of the fire will be returned back to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Navajo Fire Management Program on Tuesday morning, 6:00 a.m., July 1, 2014.

After containing the fire within a perimeter of fire line, the next step for firefighter will be to get the fire under control. Control means the fire is dead out -- no hot spots, no floating embers, nothing that will flare up again even if winds pick up. The BIA Navajo Fire staff will be working in the next days to control the fire.

The Assayii Lake Fire is approximately 14,712 acres and 95 percent contained.  Ongoing work within the fire area includes repairing and restoring bulldozer and hand lines. Firefighters continue to patrol for and put out hot spots. Unneeded water pumps, storage tanks, other equipment, and trash are being removed from the area.

The need for firefighters and equipment will decrease as fire containment continues to increase. Resources will be released from the fire and made available to other fires in the region.

On the 12th day of the Assayii Lake Fire there is little potential for fire movement and size increase. Interior pockets of unburned fuel still have the potential to burn and create smoke. Today firefighters will be enforcing fire lines as well as doing road repair and bull dozer line rehabilitation.

The Southwest Area Incident Management Team 3, a Type 2 Team, will transfer command of the Assayii Fire to a Type 3 Incident Management Team on June 26. Incident Commander Leon Ben, of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Phoenix, will assume command at 6 a.m. on Thursday morning.


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