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Wood Springs Two Fire grows to more than 5,000 acres

Calmer winds Tuesday benefit firefighters
The Wood Springs Two Fire has grown to more than 5,000 acres and was 0% contained as of Tuesday.

FARMINGTON – The Wood Springs Two Fire, burning on the Navajo Nation, has burned more than 5,000 acres and remained at 0% containment as of Tuesday afternoon.

The lightning-caused fire was first detected Saturday, according to Bureau of Indian Affairs Navajo Region Fire Management. Southwest Incident Management Team 5 took over command of the fire early Tuesday morning.

During a virtual briefing to Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez on Tuesday, the Southwest Incident team reported the fire was at 5,816 acres and 0% contained. Firefighters were going for full suppression as the fire chewed through piñon-juniper and pine vegetation. No structures have been damaged and no injuries were reported as of Tuesday.

The fire was sparked near Wood Springs, Arizona, in the northeast corner of the state. On Sunday evening, the fire was reported to be around 300 acres, but by Monday afternoon it had exploded to more than 3,000 acres. It was fueled by 40- to 50-mph winds out of the southwest.

Fire activity on Monday was described as “extreme” with 200-foot flame lengths as a result of the intense winds, according to the Southwest Incident team’s Tuesday briefing. The winds, which helped spur the fast fire growth, were calmer Tuesday. The response team anticipated 4- to 6-foot flame lengths throughout the day.

Nez issued road closures and evacuations for residents. Navajo Route 7, from Sawmill to Chinle and Wood Springs, and Navajo Route 26, between Nazlini and Sawmill, were closed Monday. The fire jumped Navajo Route 26 around midday Monday and continued to spread northeast toward Navajo Route 7.

First responders were evacuating residents who were in immediate danger, Nez said. The communities of Sawmill and Fluted Rock were told to be on high alert for possible evacuation orders Tuesday afternoon.

“All residents in the area must be very cautious, and we ask that everyone cooperate with the emergency responders, especially if you are asked to evacuate from your residence. We are working with the BIA and chapters to provide relief and places of shelter for displaced residents,” Nez said Monday. “We must also remain diligent and mindful of the risks posed by COVID-19 as we address this wildfire.”

The fire created hazy skies in Farmington and Durango on Monday.

Smoke traveled northeast Tuesday.

“The fire area includes multiple communities, power lines, sheep camps and cultural and historical sites, which firefighters are working hard to protect,” the Southwest Incident Management Team said in its Tuesday afternoon report.

lweber@durangoherald.com

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