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Wood Springs 2 Fire at 30 percent containment, 12k-plus acres burned

Fire remains most active along nothwest perimeter

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • There was no smoke impact expected in the Shiprock or Farmington areas through July 5.
  • The lightning-caused blaze is being fought by a total crew of 459 people.
  • Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez issued an executive order closing the fire area to the public after touring it by air earlier this week.

FARMINGTON — Containment of the Wood Springs 2 Fire burning on the Navajo Nation 5 miles west of Sawmill, Arizona, jumped to 30 percent on July 4 with the blaze now having consumed 12,358 acres.

An update from fire managers indicated the northwest portion of the fire remains the most active and represents the biggest challenge for firefighters. Their efforts were buoyed by some precipitation that fell across the area on July 3, but a high-pressure system was expected to move into the area on July 4, decreasing the chances for more rain. Temperatures in the region are expected to rise through July 6, improving the chances for increased fire activity.

Less smoke was expected to be generated by the fire on July 4 because much of the fuel within the interior of the blaze already had been consumed and the July 3 showers reduced much of the smoldering. But the hotter temperatures in the days ahead are expected to produce more smoke.

Sawmill, Fort Defiance and Window Rock were expected to experience the most smoke on July 4. There was no smoke impact expected in the Shiprock or Farmington areas through July 5.

The lightning-caused blaze is being fought by a total crew of 459 people. More information about the fire can be found online at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6813.

A firefighting helicopter flies above the fire zone on July 1 for the Wood Springs 2 fire, located west of Sawmill, Arizona.

The update stated the fire was being held west of Navajo Route 7 and north of power lines running through the area. On the west side of the fire, more containment was achieved south of Navajo Route 26 while tying in containment lines between Monument Canyon and logging roads north of that highway.

Fire managers attacked the northwest flank of the fire by employing drones to fire small spheres that ignite when they hit the ground to burn out potential fuels in that area.

According to the update, firefighters working the southeast portion of the blaze were working toward tying in with crews working their way south from Navajo Route 26, and made significant progress toward that goal on July 3.

Despite their work, the blaze continues to inflict property damage. Two corrals and an outbuilding were reported destroyed on July 4, bringing the total to four corrals. Minor damage also has been reported to one hogan.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez issued an executive order closing the fire area to the public after touring it by air earlier this week. Navajo Route 7 has been closed from Sawmill to Three Turkey Ruin Junction, while Navajo Route 26 is closed from the junction with Navajo Route 27 to Navajo Route 7. As of July 4, Navajo Route 7 and Navajo Route 201 were still open.

Fire managers said the communities of Sawmill and Fluted Rock are still on high alert and residents are being asked to remain ready if they are asked to evacuate. Chapter houses will have information about evacuation shelters.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.