12 small fires reported in Lukachukai Mountains

Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, June 28, 2012

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B ureau of Indian Affairs and Navajo Nation firefighters were battling a series of small lightning fires on Wednesday in the Lukachukai Mountains.

"We have all of our resources out there right now," said Pat Willeto, with the BIA Forestry Department.

The fires were cause by a lightning storm that hit the reservation from Nazlini to the Lukachukai Mountains late Tuesday night. By Wednesday, a total of 12 fires had been reported, all starting from a single tree being hit by lightning.

Willeto said the priority on Wednesday was to work on areas close to residences. The largest fire at 2 p.m. Wednesday encompassed about two acres, he said.

In some cases, the lightning strike also included some rain but most were dry hits without rain and these have the highest probability of spreading, he said.

By 2 p.m., firefighters had been sent to all the locations and the BIA was continuing to monitor the areas.

Willeto said one of the problems the firefighters were facing on Wednesday was high winds, which could hinter efforts to get the fires under control.

"The wind doesn't help much," he said.

He said, however, that if all goes well, he's hoping to have all of the fires out by late Wednesday or early Thursday.

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