Containment increases on Wood Springs 2 fire, evacuation lifted for Sawmill

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

GALLUP — Containment continues to increase on the Wood Springs 2 fire burning west of Sawmill, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation.

The update on July 6 by the Southwest Area Incident Management Team 5 states the fire perimeter had no growth on July 5 and remains west of Navajo Route 7.

July 6 had high potential for spot fires because of increased temperatures, lack of measurable rain and low relative humidity.

Members of the Southwest Area Incident Management Team 5 have been responding to the Wood Springs 2 fire since June 30. As of July 6, the fire is 12,840 acres with 51% containment.

Fire crews on the ground and firefighting aircraft will be on the lookout for spot fires and will continue to build, maintain and secure fire lines in the northwest portion of the fire and along the overhead power line, which is part of the system operated by the Arizona Public Service Company.

While there are pockets of unburned vegetation inside the perimeter that could ignite and produce smoke columns, overall smoke activity is expected to be less than previous days.

An air tanker drops fire retardant on the Wood Springs 2 fire on June 29. The tanker was seen flying east of Nazlini, Arizona.

The fire and smoke map operated by the U.S. Forest Service's Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program showed at 1 p.m. on July 6 smoke impacting the immediate area surrounding the fire, including Navajo, New Mexico.

Wildfires:Weather conditions may boost fire spread but progress continues against Wood Springs Fire

The lightning-caused fire started on June 27 and has been fueled by piñon juniper, ponderosa pine, sage and grass to increase to 12,840 acres.

No injuries have been reported but the fire has destroyed four corrals and one building and one hogan received minor damage from flames.

Darlene Leuppe, right, and her sister, Harriette Leuppe, talk about the smoke plume from the Wood Springs 2 fire, which they saw on June 29 from their residences in Kinlichee Chapter in Arizona.

"Firefighters are working with local resource personnel to identify any suppression repair work needed to begin restoring the land to its previous condition prior to suppression actions on the fire," the update states.

Residents in Sawmill are no longer on high alert for evacuation.

Related:Navajo Nation residents maintain hope, evacuate due to Wood Springs 2 fire

The executive order by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez that closed the fire area to the public remains in effect.

At center, Lino Baca with the Southwest Area Incident Management Team 5's Division Alpha talks about the Wood Springs 2 fire with Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, left, and Vice President Myron Lizer on July 1.

Road closures continue for Navajo Route 7 from Sawmill to Three Turkey Ruin Junction and Navajo Route 26 from where it meets with Navajo Route 27 to Navajo Route 7.

The update states that Navajo Route 27 and Navajo Route 201 are open.

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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