Assayii Lake Fire Partially Contained, But Still A Threat

June 20, 2014

(Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory/Jeff Schmaltz/NASA GSFD)
This NASA photo shows an aerial view of the Assayii Lake Fire, which has been burning since June 13 in the Navajo Nation.

Firefighters have made significant strides in a wildfire that has consumed more than 21 square miles of forest and grazing land on the Navajo Nation.

Fire officials said crews were able to contain 20 percent of the Assayii (UH'-say-eye) Lake Fire by Thursday night, thanks to less windy weather.

Crews took advantage of light winds to mobilize air drops of water and fire retardant. Officials said the fire was also slowed by reduced vegetation.

The blaze has destroyed at least five structures and 50 homes are still threatened.

Authorities said the human-caused fire has forced some families to evacuate their sheep camps in the Chuska Mountains, just east of the Arizona-New Mexico border.

Firefighters said they plan to keep the fire from burning southward by continuing to remove vegetation.