The “Occupy Wall Street” protest is entering its second week. Demonstrators said Saturday they were protesting against bank bailouts and the mortgage crisis; some also held signs decrying Georgia’s execution of Troy Davis, who was put to death Wednesday for the 1989 slaying of an off-duty Savannah police officer.
City will not ban fireworks due to fear of civil lawsuits
Apparently the city of Albuquerque will not ban fireworks due to a fear of possible civil lawsuits. How asinine is this? New Mexico is in the the worst drought in recorded history… and the city is worried about law suits?
How about this… when we lose numerous homes due to a careless firecracker, those homeowners who lost their homes should sue the city for NOT banning fireworks.
Since the city will not ban fireworks (is there money under the table here???)… then here is my personal plea to all… please, wait until next year. Wait until the monsoons have passed, and hopefully rehydrated the state…. then set your fireworks off.
I am not anti-fireworks… I grew up with a family that had annual firework extravaganzas every Fourth in our rural Indiana fields. Love them! But I favor keeping our Bosque, keeping our National Forests, and keeping our homes over fireworks any day.
The fireworks can wait.
Here is my little video pleading no fireworks. The footage of the Bosque here in Albuquerque I took today. Below the video is an update on the Las Conchas Fire, and new photos from Los Alamos National Lab’s photostream on Flickr.
Las Conchas Fire Update
For Immediate Release: June 30, 2011
Date Started: 1 p.m., 6/26/2011
Number of Personnel: Approximately 752 personnel including seven hotshot crews and 14 handcrews.
Location: Approximately 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos off NM 4 at mile marker 35
Fuels: Mixed Conifer, Ponderosa Pine. Fuel moisture is extremely low.
Cause: Unknown – under investigation
Equipment: Four dozers and 28 engines
Size: approximately 92,735 acres
Aircraft: Five helicopters
Percent Contained: 3%
Residences: 13 destroyed and 3 damaged
Commercial Property: 3 damaged
Other structures: 2 destroyed
Las Conchas Fire Burns More Than 6,000 acres of Santa Clara Pueblo Land – 6/30
Santa Clara Pueblo, NM – The Las Conchas Fire has charred more than 6,000 acres of the watershed of Santa Clara Pueblo and continues to destroy cultural sites, forest resources, plants and animals that the people of Santa Clara depend upon for their livelihood and culture.
“We are devastated to witness the destruction of our precious homeland,” said Governor Dasheno. “From time immemorial to this day our community has been stewards of this land, have fought to regain portions taken from us and have invested millions of dollars in restoring the forest and resources.”
Nevertheless, after two days of extreme fire behavior, the Las Conchas Fire entered Santa Clara Pueblo lands mid-day on June 29. In the last 24 hours the fire has exploded across the western third of the reservation. This includes the area known as “P’opii Khanu,” the headwaters of the creek, which the Pueblo regained in 2000 after 140 years of struggle.
Below: Las Conchas Fire progression map June 20, 2011
Las Conchas Fire Update – June 28, 2011, 11:30 am
Posted on June 28, 2011 by npsnmfireinfo
Date Started: 1 p.m., 6/26/2011 Number of Personnel: Approximately 315. Resources include two hotshot crews and nine hand crews. An Area Command Team and an additional Type I Incident Management Team have been assigned to the fire.
Location: Approximately 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos off NM 4 at mile marker 35 Fuels: Mixed Conifer, Ponderosa Pine. Fuel moisture is extremely low.
Cause: Unknown – under investigation Equipment: Five dozers and 13 engines
Size: 60,741 acres based on infrared data Aircraft: Seven helicopters
Percent Contained: 0%
Media should call (505) 428-7739 to coordinate interviews.
For information regarding evacuations or information regarding the Los Alamos National Laboratory, please call 505-820-1226.
A public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 29, at the Madonna Parish Hall in Jemez Springs, off Hwy 4 between mile marker 15 and 16.
East – Crews are working to protect structures near Bandelier, as well as working to contain the fire along the Frijole Canyon.
West – Crews are building direct lines to prevent fire movement to the west.
Northeast – Crews are working to contain the fire using burnout methods to prevent the fire from spreading north of Pajarito Road and east of Highway 501.
South – North of Cochiti fire progression is being slowed by lighter fuel types. Firefighters are evaluating methods to stop the fire from spreading south.
City of Los Alamos – The acting Los Alamos County Administrator issued an evacuation order for the city of Los Alamos. The Cities of Gold hotel in Pojoaque is offering shelter services for evacuating residents of Los Alamos. Los Alamos evacuees are advised against sheltering in White Rock, although White Rock is not at risk. White Rock is currently under a voluntary evacuation.
If you live near the fire or near the Forest, you should always be ready for emergencies including evacuations, the three-step process is easy to remember and implement:
• Ready – Take personal responsibility and prepare before the threat of a wildland fire so your home is ready in case of a fire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe spot. Plan escapes routes. Make sure all those residing within the home know the plan of action.
• Set – Act immediately. Pack your vehicle with your emergency items. Remember your six P’s: people, personal computers, pets, pills, papers and pictures. Stay aware of the latest news and information on the fire from local media and your local fire department
• Go – Leave early! Follow your personal action plan. Doing so will not only support your safety, but will allow firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire.
NM 4 is closed at Jemez Falls Campground and at NM 501. NM 502 westbound into Los Alamos is now closed to all motorists. Access is controlled and limited to official traffic until further notification.
Bandelier National Monument: The Bandelier National Monument will be closed indefinitely.
Los Alamos National Labs: The Los Alamos National Laboratory will be closed due to the fire. All laboratory facilities will be closed for all activities, and nonessential employees are directed to remain off site. Employees that are considered nonessential should not report to work unless specifically directed by their line managers. Employees should check local news sources, the LANL Update Hotline (505) 667-6622 and the LANL web page http://www.lanl.gov for updates. All radioactive and hazardous material is appropriately accounted for and protected. LANL staff is coordinating the on-site response and supporting the county and federal fire response.
The wildfire and burnout operations will continue to produce heavy smoke. Residents with respiratory problems in the path of smoke may want to consider relocating temporarily until smoke dissipates. Motorists should exercise caution due to reduced visibility.
(below) Google Earth Active Fire Mapping: Los Alamos snapshot 062811
(below) Google Earth Active Fire Mapping: New Mexico snapshot 062811
Sat. June 25, 2011
The forest fires burning above Santa Fe and on the Arizona-New Mexico state line grew slightly Friday as firefighters continued to lengthen their containment lines.
The Pacheco Fire reported a week ago in the Santa Fe National Forest is now estimated at 6,800 acres and 18 percent contained. The fire not two miles north of the Santa Fe ski basin is burning in mixed conifer and ponderosa pine in steep and rugged terrain.
Much of the increase in fire size since Friday is due to a successful overnight burnout operation, a statement released by the Central West Zone Incident Management Team Saturday morning said.
The fire was described as less active on Friday than on Thursday with most of the activity on the north side in the drainage south of Rancho Viejo. Minimal movement was seen on the south side of the fire.
Winds pushed the smoke plume eastward, and the fire continues to threaten the Santa Fe watershed and ski area, the Tesuque Peak communications site and tribal lands of Nambé and Tesuque pueblos. The fire is largely within the Pecos Wilderness.
Large sections of the Santa Fe National Forest are now closed to public access with the imposition of State Three fire restrictions. Open fires and smoking outside buildings and vehicles are banned in the areas that remain open.
Click on image below to enlarge. Clicking again will then scroll through pictures.
Wallow Fire update, AZ
Fire bosses in Arizona say most of the activity on the Wallow Fire Friday was on the south side. There favorable conditions allowed firefighters to begin working on ground lines on the fire perimeter as they try to keep the blaze from crossing the Blue River.
The Wallow Fire, which started May 29, has now grown to near 535,000 acres and ranks as the largest in Arizona history.
Winds on Saturday were forecast to reach 17-20 mph with gusts to 30 mph, enough for torching and short-range spotting on the east side of the fire, segments of which are now in New Mexico.
“These conditions are similar to those that existed when the fire has made large runs,” an update from incident commanders said.
During a public meeting on Wednesday at Raton High School, the Raton Natural Gas CEO said that natural gas service would not be interrupted. Wednesday’s fear was that gas will be turned off because of a broken valve up in the mountains caused by the wildfire. Las Vegas, N.M., is also affected by the damage. The gas company plans to service the line on Wednesday night.
Evacuations were ordered for northern Raton, north of I-25, County Road 72 and Sugarite State Park. Due to increased fire activity the Track Fire has moved south of Horse Mesa prompting a mandatory evacuation for residents located in the area beginning at Junction 72 and 526 east to Bear Canyon Road. The Red Cross set up a shelter at the Raton Convention Center.
As of Wednesday morning, Interstate 25 was closed at the intersection of I-25 and County Road 72 at Exit 453. I-25 is closed in Colorado at Exit 11. Old Pass Road is closed from the City Limits to the north at Port of Entry. Highway 526 (Sugarite Road) is closed at the junction of 526 and County Road 72. Bartlet Mesa Road is closed at the 2/10 mile marker.
The blaze is 10 percent contained.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. –Wildfires are burning around New Mexico and it’s getting harder for residents to avoid all the smoke.
Smoke has been so thick in recent days that it’s caused health problems for many residents.
“It can make peoples’ eyes water. It can make their throats burn. It can be a real nuisance for some people that seem to be a little allergic to it,” Air Quality Meteorologist Jeff Stonesifer said.
When a big hot fire throws massive plumes of smoke into the air, the smoke will ride the prevailing winds that typically blow from southwest to northeast. The smoke cloud contains steam, carbon dioxide, compounds of nitrogen, partially burned particles called hydrocarbons, tiny pieces of dirt and ash and small amounts of poison like carbon monoxide.
The very thick smoke over the past few days has brought the poorest air quality in the history of Albuquerque.
“Your nose and your lungs can filter out the larger particles, but they can’t filter out the smaller particles,” Stonesifer said. “I’m not too worried about the carbon monoxide. I’m more worried about the particulate matter and the little bit of toxic stuff in there. You know, cigarette smoke causes health problems too and that has a lot of the same stuff.”
Air quality experts still point to visibility as being the main indicator of how poor local air quality is because you can observe the changes much quicker than monitoring devices can detect and report it.
Source: KOAT News 7 | 1:40 pm MDT June 15, 2011
Here are a few videos taken from my home in Albuquerque of the smoke which has been moving in and out of the city.
It is fire season in the heart of New Mexico, and due to our drought, there will be many more to come. Here is an update on the Carlsbad Caverns fire.
CARLSBAD, N.M. – A 16,000-acre wildfire sparked Monday, forcing the evacuation and closure of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
The fire and subsequent smoke forced the evacuation of park visitors and employees. About 250 people were in the caverns at the time of the evacuation. Carlsbad Caverns will reopen when conditions are safe.
Twenty-two structures, including the visitors’ center, are threatened. Park housing and White City, N.M., are also threatened at this time.
The cause of the fire is not known.
U.S. Highway 62/180 is closed from Dark Canyon Road to the state line due to burnout operations that are being conducted to keep the fire from crossing the highway . Dark Canyon Road is also closed at Highway 137 and Hidalgo Road.
Smoke from the fire will impact the communities of White City, Carlsbad, Artesia and surrounding areas. Take precautions if you have any health or respiratory issues.
Update from KOAT News 7 | 4:27 pm MDT June 14, 2011
(Reuters) – More than 1,000 firefighters converged on this village in the Gila National Forest on Saturday as a massive wildfire that scorched eastern Arizona moved to a quarter mile from the New Mexico border.
With the winds picking up, temperatures rising and humidity low, the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for this sparsely populated corner of the state, indicating grave fire danger.
“Everything is ripe for a perfect storm,” Fire Information Officer Sean Johnson told Reuters.
“There’s not enough hose and water to put out a fire in these conditions.”
Firefighters raced to set controlled fires, designed to deny the advancing wall of flames the fuel it needs, “so we can manage the fire instead of the fire managing us,” Johnson said.
The fire has forced some 10,000 people from their mountain homes and charred more than 600 square miles of mostly pine-studded forest land in Arizona.
Although the so-called Wallon Fire has not entered New Mexico yet, its smoke has hung ominously in the skies over some parts of the state for days.
On Saturday, the Albuquerque Isotopes minor league baseball club was forced to push up its game against the Nashville Sounds by three hours to get it in before an new wave of smoke rolled in from the southwest.
Weather forecasts call for wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour to buffet the already hard-hit area, with low humidity adding to the already bone-dry conditions.
“We’ve had this scenario before in this fire,” Flory told Reuters. “We’re just going to have to do our best with the conditions in front of us.”
Fire officials said progress had been made against the monster blaze that has raged in and around the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest since May 29. As of early Saturday, the fire was 6 percent contained and more was expected to be announced later in the day.
The easing of high winds that had rapidly spread the flames for several days earlier this week had allowed a fleet of water-dropping helicopters to work to douse the blaze, and a DC-10 supertanker carrying payloads of fire retardant took to the air on Thursday.
Ground crews worked around the clock with bulldozers to cut buffer zones between the fire’s edge and populated areas and to set backfires designed to draw flames away from homes.
Flory said the helicopter crews, too, were taking part in backfire operations, dropping “aerial ignition” canisters into remote, hard-to-reach stretches of forest behind fire lines.
Their job was eased as the blaze, which ranks as Arizona’s second largest on record, began burning out of the heavy timber into areas with fewer trees, fire officials said.
The latest aerial infrared images of the fire showed it has consumed nearly 409,000 acres, or almost 639 square miles. The Rodeo-Chediski fire charged nearly 469,000 acres in 2002, making it the largest in Arizona history.
The Forest Service reports that the fire has destroyed 29 homes in eastern Arizona, including 22 homes in the town of Greer, a small mountain retreat of about 200 dwellings. Another five residences were damaged and 35 nonresidential buildings have been lost.
No serious injuries have been reported.
The towns are home to roughly 8,000 permanent residents combined, accounting for most of those displaced in the White Mountains region, a popular vacation destination for Arizonans seeking to escape the summer heat.
Flory said an estimated 1,900 people already had been forced from their homes by the time Springerville and Eager were evacuated.
Springerville Mayor Eric Baca, 38, who has lived in the area his entire life, called the fire “a punch in the gut.”
“This is devastating,” he told Reuters by telephone. “This couldn’t have happened to a more pristine area. This is our lifeblood … and now a lot of it is gone.”
Photos by REUTERS/Joshua Lott
Casey Anthony, 25, is on trial in Orlando, Florida for first-degree murder, accused of killing daughter Caylee on June 16, 2008 and hiding the body in woods near the Anthony home.
Caylee’s skeletal remains were found in December 2008. Duct tape wrapped three times around her skull, mouth and nose is the only evidence indicating cause of death, according to prosecutors.
The crime scene investigator who searched Casey Anthony’s car on July 17, 2008, for clues about the fate of her missing 2-year-old daughter testified on Friday that the odor of human decomposition wafted from the interior as soon as he opened the door.
“My professional opinion is that it was human decomposition,” said Gerardo Bloise, who told jurors he has seen as many as 45 bodies in various stages of decomposition in his career.
More information provided in this video about the inconsistencies in Casey’s stories.
Privacy versus Freedom of Expression…
Currently estimated to have been an EF4 (166-200mph winds) strength twister. Death toll currently at 89 and still counting. 75% of the city has been devastated, leveled – 2,000 buildings. Estimated to have been a mile wide. Debris found 70 miles away.
The tornado slammed into St. John’s Hospital, doing damage from the top to the bottom of the building. One witness reported seeing a victim blown out of the building when the twister hit.
Will add more video through the day as it comes in.
On the following video, from the person who took it, “The video i took while at Fastrip on east 20th street. We huddled in the back of the store until the glass got sucked out , then ran into the walk in storage fridge. Sorry for the lack of visuals but the audio is pretty telling of how intense the storm was. The tornado hits at around 1:20 seconds.”
Wild-eyed, he held his hands wide apart and declared: ‘I want a knife this big – I’m going to kill someone.’
Caught on a supermarket CCTV camera, this is Deyan Valentinov Deyanov, the vagrant held over the beheading of a British grandmother in Tenerife.
Footage shows him walking into the store in the resort of Los Cristianos and explaining what he was about to do.
Unable to obtain a knife, he left and went to a Chinese souvenir shop where, 20 minutes later, he snatched a knife from the shelf and attacked 60-year-old Jennifer Mills-Westley, stabbing her 14 times before running down the street carrying her severed head.
The killer on camera: Deyan Valentinov Deyanov pictured in a local supermarket just before the attack
The shopkeeper who saw Deyanov minutes before the bloodbath yesterday told how the 28-year-old Bulgarian was agitatedly walking through the Avenidas supermarket in a T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops on Friday morning.
The man, who gave his name as Carlos, said: ‘He had a note in his hands which he showed me. It said, “I am God”. I asked him what he was looking for and he held his hands far apart and said, “I’m looking for a knife this big”. I said we didn’t have knives and asked what he wanted it for. He said, “I want to kill someone”, and gestured across his neck.’
Yesterday the family of mother-of-two Mrs Mills-Westley, a retired road safety officer from Norwich, questioned why her killer had been free to walk the streets despite a history of mental illness and violent behaviour.
Deyanov spent time in a mental hospital this year after attacking a security guard with a brick on New Year’s Eve and knocking out his front teeth.
Squalid: The derelict house where Deyanov has been living
Shrine: The makeshift home Deyanov lived in also featured an altar made from breeze blocks and a collection of books
Locals at the resort described him as a madman who was constantly prowling the streets talking to himself, smoking cannabis and telling passers-by: ‘I am God and I’m going to strike you down.’
He slept in a derelict hut on the beach, where he kept a Bible mounted on a breeze block, and had been arrested only two days before the murder for pestering girls at a nightclub.
The Tenerife newspaper La Opinion reported that a judge had issued a search and arrest order for him on May 10, three days before the killing.
He was said to have been involved in a fight a few days earlier in the Veronicas district of Playa de Las Americas. The newspaper said that witnesses had reported that Deyanov appeared to be on drugs.
Mrs Mills-Westley’s ex-husband Peter said: ‘It goes without saying that we need to know why this man was out on the streets, and that needs to be looked into.’
The retired heating engineer, who now lives in Wexford, Ireland, added: ‘Jenny was a wonderful wife and a brilliant mother for my children. She was a wonderful woman, I loved her dearly and she was brilliant in so many ways.’