Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT
- Firefighters are battling a wind-driven blaze that has burned at least 150 homes, barns and other structures in a mountain community in drought-stricken New Mexico. The blaze on the northeastern side of Ruidoso was fueled by winds between 50 and 90 mph when it was sparked Tuesday. Village officials say evacuations have displaced close to 4,000 residents and Ruidoso schools remained closed Wednesday. Meanwhile, crews in Colorado were fighting two grass fires that forced temporary evacuations. Forecasters issued red flag warnings for a wide swath that included parts of New Mexico, Colorado and Texas as dry conditions continue to plague the region.
NEW MEXICO WILDFIRES
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Another day of critical fire weather is hampering efforts by firefighters in New Mexico to get a handle on blazes that have prompted evacuations. Two new fires reported Tuesday afternoon in the mountains of southeastern New Mexico prompted immediate evacuations. Meanwhile, authorities confirmed one home and numerous outbuildings had been damaged or destroyed by a fire burning along the Rio Grande south of Albuquerque. About 200 structures remained threatened. In northern New Mexico, steep terrain and gusts up to 60 mph kept crews from directly attacking a fire near the community of Las Vegas. More evacuations were ordered there as the fire made a big push.
FREE COLLEGE NEW MEXICO
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Flush with tax revenues and federal aid, many U.S. states are increasing support for free college programs. Experts say the expansion of a program in New Mexico could serve as a model, with flexible attendance requirements and generous financial aid. It covers tuition and fees for all students. Paired with federal grants, it can pay gas or rent for low-income students. The program allows adults to pursue a four-year degree, even if they haven't been in school for a while. The $75 million program is funded mostly with one-time federal aid, leaving supporters concerned about how long the state can sustain the program.
- AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he will continue truck inspections that have gridlocked the U.S.-Mexico border for days. The two-term Republican governor said Wednesday he would not repeal his new policy at all bridges until there are more assurances of security. Abbott did lift inspections at one international bridge after announcing what he said was an agreement for more enhanced security with Nuevo Leon, Mexico. But the most dramatic backups of commercial trucks along Texas' 1,200-mile border have occurred at other bridges that do not share a border with Nuevo Leon.
ELECTION REVIEW-NEW MEXICO
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico election regulators are resisting efforts by a conservative-backed foundation to post statewide voter registration information on a public website where it can be searched by names or addresses to view whether people voted in past elections and sometimes their party affiliations. The website does not list details of how people voted in any election. The Voter Reference Foundation hopes to add registered New Mexico voters to its website database that spans 20 states. New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said in an interview that the foundation's efforts violate New Mexico restrictions the use of voter registration data and worries about voter intimidation.