Navajo Nation wildfire nearing full containment

Posted: Updated:
By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler
By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler
By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Firefighters say a wildfire that has burned nearly 23 square miles of terrain on the Navajo Nation just east of the Arizona-New Mexico border is nearing full containment.

Fire officials said Tuesday that the Assayii Lake Fire is now 75 percent contained.

Crews say they are continuing to patrol the area for any hot spots, clearing debris and securing fire lines. Some of the fire is expected to continue to smolder.

There is still vegetation in the burned areas, which indicates that the fire isn't causing permanent damage to soils. The ash left behind should act as a fertilizer for new growth once the fire is over, according to a press release.

Authorities say some roads are still closed, which may prevent some residents from returning.

The majority of the evacuations for people living near the rural communities of Naschitti and Sheep Springs were lifted over the weekend and roads north of the fire were opened.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.