New Mexico wildfire rages as Navajo communities evacuate

Jun 17, 2014 8:01 AM by Cheryl Wengren

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Residents of two Native American communities near the New Mexico-Arizona border were forced to leave their homes Monday as strong winds fanned the flames of a wildfire burning in the Chuska Mountains.

The blaze ballooned to more than 17 square miles, forcing Navajo Nation police to issue an evacuation order for parts of Naschitti and nearby Sheep Springs. About 400 people live in the area, and fire managers said those who have yet to leave have been put on notice that more evacuations could be possible.

The Assayii Lake Fire was burning unchecked across dry pinon, juniper and brush. Gusts grounded all air support and hampered other efforts to directly attack the fast-moving flames.


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