Assayii Lake Fire Burns Uncontained on Monday

June 16, 2014

The Assayii Lake Fire near Gallup, New Mexico burned uncontained Monday afternoon. About 800 firefighters are expected to arrive to fight the blaze which has charred about 17 square miles so far.

The fire was first reported on Friday afternoon in the Bowl Canyon area of the Navajo Nation.

Fire Information Officer Lorie Cook said gusty winds have hampered firefighting efforts. According to Cook, fixed wing aircrafts are still flying, but helicopters have been grounded.  

"The weather is the determining factor on this fire. The winds are just phenomenal out there," she said. "The winds are gusting up to 50 miles an hour. I mean, I went outside and I could barely even walk outside."

At least two roads have been closed in the area. Navajo Police have been working to evacuate some residents in the Naschitti community. 

The blaze is believed to be human caused.