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Assayii Lake Fire Burns Uncontained on Monday

The Assayii Lake Fire near Gallup, New Mexico burned uncontained Monday afternoon. About 800 firefighters are expected to arrive to fight the blaze which has charred about 17 square miles so far.

The fire was first reported on Friday afternoon in the Bowl Canyon area of the Navajo Nation.

Fire Information Officer Lorie Cook said gusty winds have hampered firefighting efforts. According to Cook, fixed wing aircrafts are still flying, but helicopters have been grounded.  

"The weather is the determining factor on this fire. The winds are just phenomenal out there," she said. "The winds are gusting up to 50 miles an hour. I mean, I went outside and I could barely even walk outside."

At least two roads have been closed in the area. Navajo Police have been working to evacuate some residents in the Naschitti community. 

The blaze is believed to be human caused.

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Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.