Firefighters say locals treated them well

By Alastair Lee Bitsoi
Navajo Times

NEWCOMB, N.M., June 26, 2014

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(Times photo – Donovan Quintero)

TOP: A Navajo Scout uses a firefighting tool to put out a small fire on June 17 while battling the Assayii Lake Fire on the Chuska Mountains. As of Wednesday, the fire has burned over 14,700 acres and 85 percent contained. It remains under investigation.

BOTTOM: Firefighters watch high winds, gusting up to 50 miles per hour, blows plumes of smoke from the Asayii Lake Fire across the Chuska Mountains on June 17.

Compared to most fires he's fought throughout his career, firefighter Drew Henry will always remember how locals impacted by the 14,712-acre Assayii Lake Fire treated him with respect.

Henry, who serves as the crew boss for the Acoma Initial Attack Crew, spent over a week at the East Spike Camp in Newcomb with approximately 300 other firefighters from throughout the Southwest, including the Navajo Scouts, fighting the human-caused fire in the Chooshgai Mountains.

At its peak, the Assayii Lake Fire had about 700 personnel battling the blaze, with the Southwest Incident Management Team 3 commanding it.

The East Spike Crew camp closed Monday with teams like the Navajo Scouts and Blue Ridge Hotshots relocating to the central spike camp in Crystal, N.M., according to Peter D'Aquanni, fire information officer for the Southwest Incident Management Team 3.

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