Asayii Fire erupts near Gallup

CHUSKA MOUNTAINS, N.M. (KRQE) – A large fire is burning in the Chuska Mountains near Gallup, and as of noon Monday, it was 0 percent contained.

The Asayii Lake Fire was reported Friday and is estimated to be burning more than 595 acres on the Navajo Nation in the Bowl Canyon area, according to Bureau of Indian Affairs officials. Ernie Watson said Sunday the fire is expected to grow as winds continue, and it’s currently moving northeast.

Five or six residents and several animals including cows and horses have been evacuated.

Watson said about 255 personnel are fighting the fire. There are eight crews, six engines and eight helicopters on scene.

Watson says the fire was caused by a man burning weeds and tumbleweeds at a camp nearby. It’s unknown whether he will be charged or fined, but an investigation is ongoing.

A public meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday at the Crystal Community Center on Highway 134 east of Highway 12. Bureau of Indian Affairs personnel and members of the Southwest Area Incident Management team will present an update.

The public is encouraged to avoid roads leading to the Bowl Canyon Recreation Area.

Stay with KRQE for updates.

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