May 12 First News: Fire Crews in SW New Mexico Battle 27-hundred Acre "Signal Fire" (Listen)

May 12, 2014

In the Gila National Forest, a 27-hundred-acre fire near Silver City has grown rapidly and has forced some evacuations. It’s called the Signal Fire, and a Forest Service spokeswoman says that structures are threatened, and some ranches, a campground and a lookout were evacuated Sunday afternoon about 15 miles north of Silver City. 100 firefighters, three air tankers and four helicopters are battling the blaze. A cause hasn't been determined. Additional firefighters and resources are expected to join the battle against the Signal Fire today.

Santa Fe’s Congressional delegation along with Mayor Javier Gonzales has announced that the City’s downtown post office will stay put. Keeping the downtown post office had been a city priority--City spokeswoman Jodi McGinnis-Porter: *****051214- McGinnis-Porter-1(Q: at the city of Santa Fe) :26***** The U.S. Postal Service announced in 2012 that it was considering moving mail-carrier operations out of the Joseph M. Montoya Federal Building to the Coronado post office on Pacheco Street.

The Southwestern Association of Indian Arts—the organization that sponsors the annual Santa Fe Indian Market—is experiencing financial difficulties. Those difficulties were detailed in Sunday’s New Mexico, which reported that SWAIA’s key staff members were only working four-hour days because of the cash short flow. The news follows the recent resignations of three key SWAIA staff, who have announced their own arts exchange will take place the same weekend as Indian Market. The Indian Market generates about 140-million dollars’ worth of spending annually.

Environmental regulators are monitoring the cleanup of what they say has been an illegal, toxic dumping ground in the Gallup school district. KRQE-TV reports that the New Mexico Environment Department alleges the Gallup-McKinley County School District has been burying industrial equipment, chemicals and drums filled with powders and liquids behind a district building for years. Officials say the cleanup cost for the district is at least 250-thousand dollars—the District’s Superintendent, Frank Chiapetti, says he was not aware of the illegal dumping.

New Mexico Department of Transportation has announced that it’s increasing the speed limit north of Albuquerque along Interstate 25. D-O-T crews will begin installing the new speed limit signs today on the freeway. Until they are posted, the speed limit in this area will remain 70 miles per hour.

Santa Fe Weather: Mostly cloudy today, with a high near 55 and a 20-percent chance for showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. Tonight: Cloudy with the low down to 31—and a 50-percent chance for scattered rain and snow showers. Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy with a high near 49 and a 30-percent chance for rain.