Today’s YOUTUBE VIDEO shows SWIMT3 Operations Chief Dave Gesser reporting that the fire was 70 percent contained during the daily morning fire update at 9 a.m. at the Tse Hootsooi Middle School “Tin Building” in Fort Defiance, Ariz., on June 24, 2014.
Gesser emphasized during the morning fire update that the firefighting team was gaining momentum on the containment of the fire.
The Asaayii Lake Fire started on June 13, 2014, at the Youth Camp of the Asaayii Recreational Park. The Youth Camp is about 10 miles northeast of Navajo, N.M., which is on the Navajo Reservation.
A late morning FIRE UPDATE from the SWIMT3 reported that the fire was at 75 percent containment.
The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Region Forestry Department’s wildland firefighters immediately responded to the wildland fire but very strong winds quickly drove the fire out of control, which forced the BIA Navajo Region Forestry Department to call on outside wildland firefighting resources for support.
The BIA Navajo Region Forestry Department’s wildland firefighting resources include Hot Shots, Navajo Scouts, engines, dozers, and a helitack crew.
The suppression of the Asaayii Lake Fire was then put under the Southwest Incident Management Team 3, which is a federally funded interagency organization of wildland firefighting agencies that come from surrounding states and tribes and include Type 1 and 2 wildland firefighters, air support, dozers, engines, and water tenders..
According to SWIMT3 NEWS RELEASE, there were 867 fire personnel, which included 24 crews, 24 engines, 10 helicopters and 4 dozers, on June 19, which was also when the high winds were subsiding and when the fire containment reached 20 percent. The total size of the fire was 13,450 acres.
The SWIMT3 reported this evening, June 24, that there 405 fire personnel, which included 10 crews, 9 engines, 1 helicopter and 1 dozer.
During this morning’s fire update, Gesser said that there would probably be about 200 fire personnel tomorrow, June 25, 2014.During the morning SWIMT3 fire update, SWIMT3 Incident Commander Trainee Lance Elmore announced that the SWIMT3, which is a Type 2 Team, will be transferring command of the Asaayii Lake Fire to a Type 3 Southwest Incident Management Team, which will have Leon Ben Jr., as its incident commander. Ben, who is San Carlos Apache, works for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Phoenix.
The Type 3 SW Incident Management Team is not a BIA team, as inaccurately reported by the Navajo Nation Emergency Operations Center on June 24.
The Type 3 SW Incident Management Team continues to be an interagency organization of wildland firefighting entities from surrounding tribes and states and from the federal government, which includes the BIA.
Ben will assume command of the Asaayii Fire at 6 a.m. on June 26, 2014. But Gesser said that some members of the Type 3 Team have been “shadowing” the Type 2 SWIMT3 wildland firefighters and other resources that are out on the fire line and inside the fire area.
Elmore reported that the cost of the fire, as of last night, is about $6.4 million.