Local News

  • Thompson Ridge Wildfire keeps growing

     As the amount of burned acres keeps growing in the Thompson Ridge Fire, the Los Alamos Fire Department continues a vigilant watch on what’s happening in Sandoval County, and urges residents to do their part, too.

    The majority of officials involved in managing the fire say it’s unlikely it will reach Los Alamos, mainly because of the burn scar from the Cerro Grande Fire. There’s at least 20,000 acres between the eastern edge of the fire and the Cerro Grande burn scar. However, due to the hot dry and windy conditions, they are also saying it’s still a good idea for Los Alamos residents to be aware. Fires are never predictable, as has been seen in the last few days with Thompson Ridge.

     “What we need from our folks from Los Alamos is for them to be extra vigilant,” said LAFD Deputy Chief Justin Grider. He noted that people will need to be extra vigilant, since cloud cover tends to obscure lightning strikes and new fires. “Keep your eyes to the horizon, and report any smoke (excluding that from the Thompson Ridge Fire) you see,” he said.

    He also said those with asthma and other breathing problems need to be careful too. “Stay indoors, keep your windows closed and manage your respiratory issues appropriately,” Grider said.

  • Tres Lagunas fire threatens watershed for Las Vegas, Santa Fe

    PECOS, N.M. (AP) — Hazy conditions due to smoke from a wildfire burning east of Santa Fe are expected in the region through Tuesday as firefighters work to protect homes and other structures in the area.

    Firefighters also are trying to protect watersheds for Santa Fe and Las Vegas.

    The Tres Lagunas fire has burned approximately 8,500 acres but so far no structures in an area about 10 miles north of Pecos since it started Thursday due to a downed power line.

    Containment as of Monday night was 7 percent, with the fire burning in steep and rugged wooded terrain.

    Approximately 140 structures, mostly summer residences, have been evacuated along with numerous campgrounds.

    Dry, warm and windy conditions are forecast for Tuesday.

  • Raw: Wildfire North of Los Angeles Burns 35 Sq. Miles

    A fire north of Los Angeles has forced nearly 3,000 people to evacuate their homes. The fire has burned about 35 square miles in the mountains and canyons of the Angeles National Forest,

  • Weather continues to fan Thompson Ridge blaze, VIDEO added

    Central West Zone Incident Command officials said they have drawn a perimeter around the Thompson Ridge Fire and plan to contain it within the set perimeter.  The boundary encompasses 25,000 acres of the Valles Caldera. The fire itself has grown to 9.394 acres and is located on the western edge of the Caldera as of Tuesday night.

    According to Fire Management Officer Bea Day, they’ve managed to complete the burnout at the western edge where the fire first began, securing homes in the La Cueva area and elsewhere. 

    “It doesn’t mean we’re out of danger yet, for this is a very active fire,” Day told the audience at a community meeting in Jemez Springs Tuesday evening.

    One of the challenges of fighting the fire has been the weather, according to Day. While they’ve had days with some precipitation, that advantage tends to evaporate as the day wears on, leaving them to fight literally an uphill battle.

    “So Monday, what happened was as the humidity dropped it didn’t take long for the smoke to come up. It was very quick; it’s such an indication of how dry everything is,” she said.

    The dryness and the wind added to the speed of the fire, which is how it ended up near the Valle Grande by Tuesday.

  • Today in History for June 3rd
  • Fire moves south, officials respond with management upgrade VIDEO ADDED

    Firefighter officials discovered the Thompson Ridge Fire did two major  things Sunday. It almost doubled in size, and stopped going east and instead moved in a southerly direction.

     Fire officials responded by upgrading the fire’s management team from the  Type 3 Santa Fe Taos team that had been managing it since it broke out Friday. It was replaced by the Type 2 Arizona Central West Zone Team.

    According to the ACW’s Fire Information Officer, Lori Cook that is normal procedure whenever a wildfire grows in complexity and size.

    “When a fire gets to a type 3, like this fire, there was a type 3 team managing it. But when it became more complex and we were going to have evacuations and structures are threatened, when it became too much for management to handle, then they brought in a type 2 team, that’s us, ” she said. “They knew it was going to grow substantially, and they needed more people to support it.”

     During a Sunday afternoon press conference, officials said the fire grew on all sides Saturday, due to low humidity and dense dry fuels. However, firefighters did manage to establish a firebreak to protect homes and other structures along the western edge of the fire.

  • Wildfire update from Red Cross


  • 3 veteran storm chasers killed by Oklahoma tornado

    Three veteran storm chasers were among the 10 people killed when a violent tornado barreled into the Oklahoma City metro area.

    Jim Samaras told The Associated Press on Sunday that his brother Tim Samaras, 54, of Bennett, Colo., was killed Friday. Tim Samaras' son, 24-year-old Paul Samaras, also of Bennett; and another chaser, Carl Young, also died.

    The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said it believed the deaths were the first time scientific researchers were killed while chasing tornadoes. The Samaras' and Young were pursuing an EF3 tornado as it bore down on a metropolitan area of more than 1 million people.

    "He looked at tornadoes not for the spotlight of TV but for the scientific aspect. At the end of the day, he wanted to save lives and he gave the ultimate sacrifice for that," Jim Samaras said.

    The classic movie "The Wizard of Oz" fascinated a then-6-year-old Tim Samaras, his brother said — not for the magical Emerald City, but by what took Dorothy there, the storm.

    "He didn't give a crap about Toto, he didn't give a crap about the munchkins," Jim Samaras said.

  • Governor, emergency officials meet with concerned residents, evacuees

    The good news is firefighters battling the Thompson Ridge wildfire said they expect good firefighting weather for the next 10 days. That is, no wind, and some moisture in the forecast. The bad news, the fire is not contained, and it keeps heading slowly east toward Los Alamos.

    As of Sunday morning  it is at about 1,200 acres and spreading. Officials said that “as the crow flies” the fire is about 20 to 25 miles away from Los Alamos. They also added they didn’t see Los Alamos as being in any imminent danger.

    This information was recently conveyed to a a very anxious group of residents who live around the Valles Caldera.  They met with  fire, emergency and government officials at the La Cueva Volunteer Fire Department headquarters Saturday.

  • Cleanup goes on as storms move toward East Coast--Video Extra

    EL RENO, Okla. (AP) — A violent weather system that claimed 12 lives in Oklahoma and Arkansas amid tornadoes and flash floods gave way to clearing skies as the storms trekked toward the East Coast on Sunday.

    A tornado killed nine people as it charged down Interstate 40 in Oklahoma City's western suburbs on Friday night, twisting billboards and scattering cars and tractor-trailers along a roadway clogged with rush-hour motorists leaving work or fleeing the storm's path. Flash floods in Arkansas killed three early Friday, including a sheriff attempting a water rescue.

    "The last two nights, I've been having hell," said Roy Stoddard, a truck driver from Depew, Okla., who was delayed by rising floodwaters at Little Rock, Ark. on Thursday. Then on Friday evening, he had to take shelter in a store's walk-in cooler during Friday evening's rush-hour in Oklahoma City as deadly weather approached.

    "I know what a tornado can do," Stoddard added.

    Damage from Friday night's severe weather was concentrated a few miles north of Moore, the Oklahoma City suburb pounded by an EF5 tornado on May 20 that killed 24 people. Next up, the system was approaching the densely populated Northeast.