Firefighters see progress battling Navajo reservation wildfire

Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:27pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Firefighters on Sunday reported good progress working to contain a wildfire that has torn through pine woodlands and brush on a Navajo reservation in northwestern New Mexico.

The wind-driven Assayii Lake fire was 60 percent contained by Sunday morning, with the interior of the blaze burning out and containment lines keeping flames from continuing to spread, fire officials said.

The 9-day-old blaze has charred 14,712 acres (5,954 hectares) since it erupted in the Chuska Mountains, about six miles (10 km) east of the Arizona border, and spread toward the communities of Sheep Springs and Naschitti.

There were several road and highway closures around the blaze and ranchers moving cattle and livestock out of the area were being told obtain approval from Navajo Nation officials.

The cause of the fire was linked to a human and was under investigation, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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