Reward offered for information about Navajo Agricultural Products Industry fires

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A reward is being offered to anyone with information about fires that have occurred since July at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry.

The recent fires have prompted the Bureau of Indian Affairs Wildland Fire Management Navajo Region to seek information from the public.

An alert was posted on Sept. 4 on the agency's Facebook page, stating that a series of fires have occurred at NAPI in areas south and east of Ojo Amarillo.

The first fire started at approximately 5 a.m. on July 26, followed by fires at 5:31 p.m. on Aug. 21 and two fires both at 10:17 a.m. on Sept. 1.

Johnson Benallie, regional assistant fire management officer for the Navajo Region of the BIA Fire and Aviation Management, said no further information will be released because the investigation remains open.

Authorities process on Aug. 20, 2019 the scene of a fire that burned a vacant building owned by the Naschitti Christian Reformed Church on Aug. 20, 2019 in Naschitti.

The BIA Navajo Region has partnered with WeTip to receive information from the public or for people to submit anonymous tips at 800-472-7766.

WeTip is a national nonprofit organization the BIA has teamed with to receive information about suspicious wildfires that occur on or near tribal lands.

The agency is also seeking tips for a fire on July 21 that burned 0.4 acres on along Indian Service Route 5 in Gadii'ahi and for a fire that occurred on July 27 in Teec Nos Pos, Arizona.

The fire in Teec Nos Pos burned 0.5 acres and threatened homes along U.S. Highway 60 and on Navajo Route 5015, according to the agency's alert.

Anyone with information about the fires in Gadii'ahi and Teec Nos Pos can contact WeTip.

Carpet and other fabrics have been removed from the chapel in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on West Apache Street in Farmington. A June 1, 2019 fire caused smoke damage to most of the structure built in the 1950s.

Tips sought for fires in Naschitti, Farmington

Two federal agencies are offering rewards for information that leads to arrests for fires that occurred in Naschitti and in Farmington.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whoever started fires on Aug. 19 and on Aug. 20 in Naschitti.

The fires burned the Naschitti Trading Post and three unoccupied buildings owned by the Naschitti Christian Reformed Church. The church also sustained damages.

People with information about this case can call the FBI at 505-889-1300 or go online at

Seth Bingham, a spokesman for the Farmington stake, on July 15, 2019 stands in the hallway of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on West Apache Street that was scorched by fire on June 1, 2019 in Farmington.

In July, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced a reward up to $5,000 for information about a fire at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Farmington.

The church,located at 400 W. Apache St., was heavily damaged by a fire on June 1 and federal and local investigators ruled the cause as arson on July 15.

Anyone with information can call the San Juan County Crime Stoppers at 505-334-8477 or the ATF hotline at 888-283-8477. Tips can also be submitted to or contact the agency online at

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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