Local News

  • Close call at Caldera -- more fire photos added

    The Thompson Ridge Fire grew to 12,171 acres Thursday morning after making a run at the historic district of the Valles Caldera National Preserve Wednesday.

    The area included the ranch headquarters, guest houses, other old cabins and barns.

    “There was a lot of excitement overnight and into the wee hours because the fire made a strong run right up to the edge of ranch headquarters,” fire information officer Dana Howlett said. “Fortunately, there had been a lot of prep work to protect the structures. We’re very happy to report that the whole district is in very good shape.”

    The fire has charred more than 16 square miles after doubling in size Tuesday. It continued its easterly march Wednesday and was about 5 percent contained by Wednesday evening.

    Howlett said thunderstorms were expected to increase humidity, which could provide some relief to firefighters.

    Firefighters received help Wednesday from a DC-10 jumbo jet, which sprayed fire retardant on the southern edge of the fire.

  • Federal funds approved for Tres Lagunas Fire

    PECOS, N.M. (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a grant that will help cover potential costs related to fighting the Tres Lagunas Fire in northern New Mexico.

    State officials announced Thursday afternoon that the grant was approved. It will help pay for up to 75 percent of the cost of fighting the fire, including evacuations and shelter, traffic control and fire equipment.

    The fire was sparked May 30 by a downed power line. It has charred about 15 square miles of the Santa Fe National Forest north of Pecos. It forced evacuations of dozens of summer homes and the closure of some camping areas.

    Crews have been helped by high humidity and lower temperatures, but forecasters are warning that unfavorable weather is expected by the end of the week.

    The fire is about 25 percent contained.

  • Monumental phone-records monitoring is laid bare--Video Extra

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A leaked document has laid bare the monumental scope of the government's surveillance of Americans' phone records — hundreds of millions of calls — in the first hard evidence of a massive data collection program aimed at combating terrorism under powers granted by Congress after the 9/11 attacks.

    At issue is a court order, first disclosed Wednesday by The Guardian newspaper in Britain, that requires the communications company Verizon to turn over on an "ongoing, daily basis" the records of all landline and mobile telephone calls of its customers, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries. Intelligence experts said the government, though not listening in on calls, would be looking for patterns that could lead to terrorists — and that there was every reason to believe similar orders were in place for other phone companies.

  • Today in History June 6
  • Thompson Ridge fire consumes 12,171 acres


    Yesterday and last night, lower temperatures and slightly higher humidity created more favorable conditions on the fire. The west perimeter control line showed no heat last night. The north perimeter control line had burnout operations throughout the night extending east to Valles Caldera (VC) Road 02. The east control line continues to be prepared and improved along VC Road 02 south to the Valles Caldera Headquarters Historic District. The south control line along VC Road 02 will continue to be prepared and improved while monitoring the Redondo Peak south facing slopes.

    Today, the most activity is anticipated in the northeast portion of the interior, with some portions of the north interior filling in isolated pockets of fuels.

    Please follow the Thompson Ridge Fire on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ThompsonRdgFire .

    Evacuations: An evacuation order remains in effect for Thompson Ridge, Rancho de la Cueva and Elk Valley.

  • Witnesses Heard 'boom,' Saw Pa. Building Fall

    Witnesses of a building collapse in Philadelphia say they heard a loud boom, saw the wall of a building fall onto a neighboring thrift store and then rushed to pull victims from the rubble.

  • Strike teams deploy to NM to help with wildfires

    RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Some residents were allowed to return home Wednesday as firefighters shored up lines around one of two wildfires that have raced across thousands of acres of dry forest in northern New Mexico.

    The Tres Lagunas blaze has charred more than 14 square miles north of Pecos since being sparked last Thursday by a downed power line. Fire officials said the fire is now 15 percent contained and they're assessing the evacuation area to determine when more evacuees can return.

    With fire season in full swing in drought-stricken New Mexico, Gov. Susana Martinez planned to announce the arrival of three out-of-state strike teams to help if new fires break out.

    The teams will be positioned in Rio Rancho, Socorro and Las Vegas.

    "They will be available to go anywhere," said Dan Ware, spokesman for the New Mexico State Forestry division. "Because we have a lot of resources dedicated to the two fires, having these strike teams will really be a benefit."

    A crew from Wyoming is arriving Wednesday, while teams from North Dakota and Oregon will be in New Mexico by Thursday. In all, 38 crew members and 13 engines make up the teams.

  • Some residents return as crews battle Tres Lagunas fire

    PECOS, N.M. (AP) — Some residents are being allowed to return to the Pecos area now that crews have better secured lines along the Tres Lagunas Fire.

    Fire officials say they're assessing the evacuation area daily to determine when it will be appropriate for more evacuees to return. About 140 homes, mostly summer cabins, were evacuated when the fire started last Thursday.

    The blaze has charred more than 14 square miles and is about 15 percent contained.

    Crews are continuing to focus on protecting homes and other buildings in Holy Ghost Canyon. They're using sprinklers to keep the buildings moist and raise humidity.

    As of Wednesday, no structures have burned.

    Crews are also clearing unburned fuel in hopes of slowing the fire. The work is aimed at protecting an area that serves as a water source for the city of Las Vegas.

  • Update 06-05-13

    Camp May closed

    Due to construction, Camp May is closed to overnight camping and picnicking until further notice. Construction is estimated to be completed by mid-July. Access to the Santa Fe National Forest remains open from the Ski Hill parking lot.

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    LANL meeting

    A meeting for the pre-submittal of a Permit Modification to the Los Alamos National Laboratory Hazardous Waste Facility Permit will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at Fuller Lodge.

    Arts board

    The Arts in Public Places Board has just discovered technical difficulties with the email address associated with its “Open Call for Art.” (ArtProposals@lacnm.us). All proposals must be resent and the deadline has been extended to June 7.


    Kiwanis will meet at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church at 3990 Trinity Drive. Kiwanis meets each Tuesday from noon until 1 p.m. On June, 11, Los Alamos Kiwanis Treasurer Cindy Eaton will share experiences and photos from her recent trip to China. 

  • Council upholds P and Z decision

    The Los Alamos County Council voted 6–0 to uphold the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of a special use permit allowing a U-Haul rental facility to operate at the Los Alamos Public School District’s Pueblo Complex Tuesday night.

    A protest against the permit was filed by Sherry Evans-Carmichael on April 11 and was heard by P and Z on March 27. After hearing the applicant’s presentation and the protest, P and Z voted 8–0 to approve the LAPS application.

    Evans-Carmichael’s appeal to council claimed that P and Z’s decision was “arbitrary or capricious or a manifest abuse of discretion,” because she did not feel the health and safety issues she raised were adequately addressed.

    Evans-Carmichael’s husband Jeff Carmichael presented a statement on her behalf, stating that industrial or quasi-industrial operations belong on the outskirts of Los Alamos, in an area zoned for industrial use. He argued that this would set a precedent for similar operations and have a detrimental impact on the neighborhood.

    Carmichael further stated that Evans-Carmichael and her daughter are also environmentally sensitive to exhaust and concerned that traffic to the U-Haul would impact their health.

    Assistant County Attorney Katy Thwaits presented the county’s case.