SUBSCRIBE NOW
99¢ per month. Save 90%
SUBSCRIBE NOW
99¢ per month. Save 90%

Extreme drought conditions prompt fire restrictions for Navajo Nation

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Fire restrictions have been issued for the Navajo Nation due to extreme drought conditions and high fire danger.

Open burning is prohibited, including the use of fire to clear fields or to burn trash, and the use of wood burning and charcoal fires, campfires, warming fires and charcoal barbecues.

Restrictions ban the possession, manufacturing, sale or use of fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices in accordance to the Navajo Nation Code and prohibit discharging a firearm except for authorized hunting activities.

Restrictions also prohibit the use and operation of chainsaws or other internal combustion engines from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily and the use of welding tools or other open-flame equipment.

Firefighters from the Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Region Wildland Fire Management and the McKinley County Fire Department mop up blazes on April 30, 2018 after a fire burned more than 200 acres near Navajo Route 364 and Fifth Lane in Shiprock.

The fire restrictions were issued in an executive order from Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and based on a recommendation by the Navajo Forestry Department and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Region Wildland Fire and Aviation Management.

The agencies sought the restrictions to prepare for an active fire season due to inadequate precipitation, abundant dry fuels, high winds, high temperatures and low humidity.

The restrictions were also requested to protect the public, infrastructure and natural resources as well as helping to keep firefighters safe from the potential transmission of the novel coronavirus when responding to fires.

Nez and BIA Navajo Region Director Bartholomew Stevens signed the executive order implementing the fire restrictions on May 15.

A copy of the executive order was posted on May 18 on the BIA Wildland Fire Management Navajo Region Facebook page.

A firefighter works on smoldering tree stumps on April 30, 2018 after a fire burned more than 200 acres near Navajo Route 364 and Fifth Lane in Shiprock.

To report a wildland fire, contact the BIA Fire Dispatch at 928-729-2307. For more information about the fire restrictions, contact the Navajo Forestry Department at 928-729-4007.

Fire restrictions for non-tribal lands were implemented last week by the New Mexico State Forestry Division, San Juan County and the City of Farmington.

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

Support local journalism with a digital subscription to The Daily Times.