Assayii Lake Fire 98% Contained on Navajo Nation; Gratitude Erupts in Posters
Navajo Nation residents near the Chuska Mountains were breathing an (almost) smoke-free sigh of relief on Monday June 30 as officials announced that the Assayii Lake fire was 98 percent contained.
Although this did not mean the fire was out entirely, it meant that the 14,712-acre blaze had stopped spreading and was well on the way to being extinguished for good.
"When the fire is 100 percent contained the next step for firefighters is to bring the entire fire under control," said the intergovernmental Assayii Lake Fire agency in the last media release it planned to issue about the fire. "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 fire was still burning internally, eating up acres of sacred lands. The human-caused fire began on June 13 and was still under investigation.
"Isolated pockets of fuel in the interior of the fire may continue to burn until significant rainfall aids the firefighters in putting the fire out," the Assayii Lake Fire statement said. "Smoke may be seen until that time."
At its height the fire consumed several structures and caused evacuations in two communities.
Nonetheless, the agency was discontinuing its social media outreach and turning over the fire communication to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Meanwhile, cards and letters of thanks have been pouring in, and posters of gratitude have been cropping up around the Navajo Nation. Here are several of them, as posted on the Assayii Lake Fire's Facebook page; all photos courtesy of the Navajo Nation firefighters.
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