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Assayii Lake Fire remains uncontained

Updated: 06/18/2014 5:25 PM | Created: 06/18/2014 5:23 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4

An out-of-control wildfire has now burned more than 13,000 acres near Assayii Lake, north of Gallup.

Firefighters have not contained any of it, and the battle may get worse before it gets better.

The residents want answers, and they feel like they're not getting them from the people who are battling this fire.

Their homes are up there, and they decided to leave when things started looking bad. Now, no one seems to know how bad the damage is.

The windy, dry weather doesn't help.

They say patience is a virtue.

But high atop the hillside on the Navajo Nation, it's tough to see if the latest firefighting efforts are working.

Further down below, past the roadblocks, frustration is growing.

Raymond Morris is one of more than a dozen people who've received mixed messages about their homes.

"This morning, just now, in the meeting, they said your home's damaged. Uh, it's gone," Morris said.

First, they heard the fire destroyed 14 of them.

Now, incident commanders say it only took out four structures, which may be homes, but they're not sure.

That's why there's so much worry in all these faces.

Kenneth Nabahe says, he too, fears the fire took out his family's decades-old homestead -- a cabin and corals. He just wants to know the truth. "And then we were told our home was still standing," Nabahe said.

Raymond Morris, who admits he didn't buy into the threat of this fire at first, wants the truth as well. "I knew that the fire was up there, but I didn't think it was gonna come over the mountain!" Morris said.

As his patience wears thin, and as firefighters try to stop the fire from spreading, the man just wants to know what of his livelihood is left.

"I left everything, I left everything," Morris said.

These folks are also really worried about their livestock. Many of them have cattle or sheep up there.

Police and fire crews around here say they hope to do more property assessments today, if it's safe, and have answers later Wednesday night.


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