I just arrived in Window Rock, Ariz., from Crystal, N.M., where the Southwest Incident Management Team 3 and local Navajo Nation government officials met with more than a hundred community members of all ages about the Asaayii Lake Fire, which on Friday the 13th.
At 1:30 p.m., SW Incident Management Team reported that the fire was at 11,000 acres and heading east towards the Navajo Reservation community of Sheep Springs, N.M. The Navajo Nation police have started evacuating Sheep Springs but a community is planned for 4:30 p.m. at the Sheep Springs Chapter, which is where I’ll be headed after I post this. Incident Team members compared the fire to a run away horse. High winds have been a key factor in the wild land firefighters being unable to contain the fire.
It is now 3:22 p.m.
At this morning’s briefing by the SW Incident Team 3 at the Navajo Nation Museum & Library in Window Rock, Ariz., it was reported that the Asaayii Lake Fire was at 9,000 acres. That was at 9:30 p.m.
This morning’s meeting involved Navajo Nation Chief of Staff Arbin Mitchell, tribal emergency management staff, tribal foresty deparment, community members from Crystal, N.M. and Sheep Springs, N.M., and media.
Some families from the Crystal community were evacuated because of the fire. It’s unknown how many families have been evacuated. The American Red Cross has been called in to assist families.
The Navajo Nation’s radio state, KTNN AM 660, is providing updated information, including contact information.
The Naschitti, N.M., Chapter is also having a 3 p.m. meeting today. The road from Sheep Springs to Crystal, which is over the Chuska Mountains and through Narbona Pass has been closed.
The SW Incident Management Team 3 has scheduled daily meetings at 9 a.m. at the Navajo Nation Museum. The Incident Command Post is in Fort Defiance, Ariz. Crews are camped near the Crystal Chapter.