Navajo's Assayii Lake Fire: Heartbreaking Losses, and How to Help

Learn how you can help those who have lost an important piece of their livelihoods:

From the Source: 

"Firefighters are making headway against the Assayii Lake Fire, but not before it gobbled up acre upon acre of sacred land in the Chuska Mountains between Gallup and Shiprock.The Assayii fire on the Navajo Nation had been 20 percent contained by Thursday June 19, as the blaze reached 13,450 acres, and 867 personnel battled the flames, according toInciWeb. But the victory is destined to be bittersweet.

Though no one has died, the toll is still great. Members of two communities had been evacuated, and at least 13 summer sheep camps had been destroyed, according to the Navajo Times.

'We’re going to be losing everything and our memories will be gone,” Elvina Yazzie told theNavajo Times on June 16 after driving her family’s flock of 28 sheep down the mountain with the help of her nephew, Nelvin Yazzie. “It just hurts because our grandparents built that hogan.'

Donations are being accepted at several chapter houses, Navajo Nation Emergency Management Director Rose Whitehair told the Navajo Times. The Crystal Chapter House, Naschitti Chapter House, Shiprock Chapter House, Fort Defiance Field House (Home Base), Tohatchi High School Gymnasium and Newcomb School are looking for flour, potatoes, eggs, paperware (bowls, plates, utensils, cups) Zip-lock bags, disposable gloves, oil, salt, baking powder, dish towels, steel knives, pots, pans, napkins, coffee, Kool-Aid and ice tea mix, power bars, cold cuts, bread, soda, water, juice, pitchers for Kool-Aid, canned food and boxes for food storage, according to theNavajo Times. The American Red Cross is fielding financial donations and offering other aid.

'Officials are asking that those donating items refrain from too much sugar products and also to be aware of the expiration dates,' the Navajo Times stated."

  Above: "A weary firefighter prays between bouts with the Assayii Lake Fire in the sacred Chuska Mountains on the Navajo Nation." Credit: Neil Damon

Above: "A weary firefighter prays between bouts with the Assayii Lake Fire in the sacred Chuska Mountains on the Navajo Nation." Credit: Neil Damon