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Navajo Nation fire mostly contained at 96%

Blaze burned over 12,000 acres in almost two weeks
The Wood Springs Two Fire, which started June 27, had burned over 12,000 acres and was 96% contained as of Friday.

FARMINGTON – The Wood Springs Two Fire on the Navajo Nation had burned 12,861 acres and was 96% contained as of Friday.

Hot and dry conditions this weekend will likely cause the fire to spread through unburned pockets within the fire boundary, according to the Southwest Incident Management Team.

The Southwest Incident Management Team, which took over control of the fire June 30, returned management to the Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Region Wildland Fire Management agency Friday morning. Crews and equipment began leaving the area Thursday.

The fire, sparked by a lightning strike June 27, sent smoke as far north as Farmington and Durango. It was started near Wood Springs, Arizona, in the northeast corner of the state.

Although wildfire smoke drifted north early on, less smoke has been visible this week because there was less fuel available within the fire perimeter, according to the management team.

The community of Fluted Rock was told to remain on high alert this week because of the fire. Residents were advised to collect important items and to be ready to evacuate to a shelter. The Sawmill community is no longer included in a high alert evacuation advisory.

The areas affected by the wildfire include multiple communities, sheep and horse camps, power lines and cultural and historical sites. The general public is advised to continue avoiding the wildfire area, with an executive closure order still in place.

The blaze grew in size from 300 acres June 29 to more than 3,000 on June 30, aided by 40- to 50-mph winds out of the southwest. By July 1, the factors contributing to the fires had changed, as the winds died down to 15 mph. The steep topography and the dry piñon juniper, ponderosa pine and sage fueled the fire’s growth.

During the past week, crews completed a fire line from the southwest corner of the blaze to the west side of the fire. There is also about 2 to 3 miles of fire line toward the north, along Navajo Route 7, which remains closed from Sawmill to Three Turkey Ruin Junction. Parts of Navajo Route 26 remained closed but Navajo Route 27 and Route 201 were open for travel as of Friday.

Crews continued to secure the remainder of the containment line Friday.

lweber@durangoherald.com

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