July 2 First News: Diego Wildfire In Jemez Still Uncontained; Five Square Miles Burned (Listen)

Jul 2, 2014

A raging wildfire in northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains has grown to more than five square miles and is sending smoke 75 miles away toward Albuquerque. Fire information officer John Helmich said the lightning-sparked Diego Fire burning nine miles southwest Coyote is still expanding and remained zero percent contained Tuesday. The inferno is burning in mixed conifer forest with many dead or downed trees, and officials say groups of trees catch fire at a time. Officials could not immediately say how many families were affected by the evacuations in the community of Jarosa (yuh-ROE'-suh) and the surrounding area.

New Mexico's largest electricity provider says it expects to add significant renewable energy resources to its portfolio in the coming years. Public Service Company of New Mexico—PNM— released details of the resource plan it filed with state regulators Tuesday. The utility considered future changes in the cost and reliability of potential resources — from coal to solar and wind — in determining what should be included in the mix. The plan outlines the utility's objectives for the next two decades and includes specific recommendations for the next few years. PNM says it's still unclear how newly proposed rules for curbing carbon dioxide emissions will affect the utility's power sources in the future. Environmental groups have been critical of PNM. They accuse the utility of leaving customers exposed to the costs of meeting environmental regulations.

New Mexico's new embattled teacher evaluation system could have consequences for the paychecks of teachers who receive poor ratings. Public Education Secretary Hannah Skandera told the Albuquerque Journal that teachers who get the two lowest ratings could face delays in moving up in the state's licensing system's three tiers. Those tiers have progressively higher minimum pay. However, Skandera says the system has flexibility because teachers with low ratings in the evaluation system can still move forward if their school principals say the teachers have improved since their last evaluations. Otherwise, the teachers have to wait for the next annual evaluation. The system has been under scrutiny since the first evaluations were released in May, with many teachers reporting errors in their scores.

More than 100 Central America immigrants suspected of entering the country illegally have been transported to a temporary detention center in New Mexico. The Roswell Daily Record reports that federal immigration officials confirmed 168 women and children arrived Friday at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia. Officials say more are expected to arrive, but it's unclear when. Mayor Philip Burch tells KENW radio that officials are hosting a public meeting Tuesday night to address concerns about public safety. Last month, the Obama administration announced plans to convert the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center into one of several temporary sites being established to deal with the influx of women and children fleeing gang violence and poverty in Central American. The three barracks at the Artesia site in can hold up nearly 700 people as they await deportation or seek asylum.

What can stop traffic more effectively than a red light?  KSFR's Dave Marash has the answer. RUNS:  00:50

TEXT:  Bosses of Santa Fe, pay attention, the excuses your tardy employees made yesterday morning about being stuck in traffic behind a turtle were probably true.  Literally. A 150 pound African Spurred Tortoise named Plato had cars backed up on Old Santa Fe Trail around 10:30 this morning after staging a jailbreak from his home on North Spur Road.  His owner says the runaway -- alright crawl-away tortoise was looking for his favorite surrogate grandchild who went back to California after a vacation visit.  After rescuing Plato, the Santa Fe Police Department's animal Services officers had a relatively easy call...removing a frightened porcupine from a tree.  For KSFR News, I'm Dave Marash.

Santa Fe Weather: Partly sunny today and tomorrow with a 40-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms both days and highs in the low 80s. Tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 60-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms.