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Wood Springs 2 fire containment increases, management to transition this week

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

GALLUP — Firefighters continue to gain ground on the Wood Springs 2 Fire on the Navajo Nation with smoke remaining close to the fire area.

Containment increased to 76%, and the fire has burned 12,861 acres in the chapters of Sawmill, Kinlichee and Nazlini in the Arizona portion of the reservation, according to the July 7 report by the Southwest Area Incident Management Team 5.

The fire management team report states that firefighters have held the fire west of Navajo Route 7 and north of overhead power lines, which is a high-voltage transmission line located west of Sawmill, Arizona.

Words of appreciation for firefighters working to contain the Wood Springs 2 fire are pictured on July 6 outside the incident command center at Window Rock High School in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

An analysis of the fire behavior showed that hot, dry and windy conditions in the forecast for July 7 might increase fire activity.

According to the air quality report for northeast Arizona, smoke is expected to continue to decrease, but pockets of unburned material inside the fire perimeter could ignite and produce columns of smoke.

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That smoke is likely to remain in low-lying areas near the fire zone with air quality remaining good for San Juan County.

Additional details from the report state that crews have completed a fire line from the southwest corner along the west side of the fire to Navajo Route 26 and on the southeast side to Sage House Wash, located west of Oak Creek Mountain.

Community members have posted messages for firefighters working to contain the Wood Springs 2 fire on the Navajo Nation. The signs are pictured on July 6 outside the incident command center at Window Rock High School in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

Firefighters have also built approximately three miles of fire line on the north end of the fire between Monument Canyon to Navajo Route 7 and along the road.

"There are still several sections of uncontained fire line on the west side of the fire across Monument Canyon, and on the eastern side of the fire south of Navajo Route 26," the update states.

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Personnel will start to restore land disturbed by efforts to contain the fire and will monitor areas inside the fire zone that are still burning.

During the town hall meeting on July 7 for the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President on Facebook, tribal President Jonathan Nez explained that he and Vice President Myron Lizer attended a briefing about the fire earlier that morning. 

A message of appreciation for firefighters working to contain the Wood Springs 2 fire on the Navajo Nation is pictured on July 6 outside the incident command center at Window Rock High School in Fort Defiance, Arizona.

"On behalf of the Navajo people, we thanked the fire personnel for helping slow down the fire. … Thank you to the Southwest Area Incident Management Team 5 and all the partners and all the resources that are there," Nez said.

He added that management of the fire will return to the Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Region Wildland Fire and Aviation Management later this week. 

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.

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