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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT

Arizona wildfire forces fast decision: Fight or flee flames?

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Ferocious winds that sent what was a small wildfire racing toward homes on the outskirts of a northern Arizona city presented a dilemma. Most residents in the "Girls Ranch" neighborhood north of Flagstaff, Arizona, fled the flames. One couple stood their ground. Another raced to save animals on neighbors' properties. Two homes in the close-knit neighborhood were among 30 in the area that were destroyed. The wildfire left a mosaic of charred land before it was almost fully contained this weekend. The blaze is one of many this spring that have forced panicked residents to make life-or-death, fight-or-flee decisions as wildfire season heats up in the U.S. West.

Man accused of impersonating Albuquerque policeman faces DWI

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a man accused of impersonating an Albuquerque police officer last month also is facing a DWI charge. Raul Martinez had his initial court appearance Saturday. Albuquerque TV station KOB reports that two different videos show Martinez announcing himself as a city police officer at a gas station and a neighborhood. According to a criminal complaint, three women at the gas station said Martinez appeared to be drunk and was slurring his words. A judge decided Martinez could be released from jail on his own recognizance on the impersonation case, but he was held for a March 20 DWI charge that violated conditions of his release. It was unclear Sunday if Martinez has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf about the two cases.

Firefighters battling New Mexico blaze brace for wind

Calmer weather conditions in northern New Mexico have helped over 1,000 firefighters battling the nation's largest active wildfire. But fire managers warn of windy conditions expected in the coming days, and officials urged residents to remain vigilant for further possible evacuation orders. A fire operations official says the fire's rapid growth forced crews on Friday to repeatedly change positions because of dangerous conditions. No injuries were reported. The official says improved weather Saturday aided firefighting efforts. The fire has burned at least 166 homes. Wildfires also are burning elsewhere in New Mexico and in Arizona.

Vegas water intake now visible at drought-stricken Lake Mead

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The water supply for Las Vegas has marked a milestone, with a water intake breaking the surface of drought-depleted Lake Mead and the activation of a new pumping facility to draw water from deeper in the crucial Colorado River reservoir. The Southern Nevada Water Authority released photos this week of the uppermost intake visible at the lake behind Hoover Dam. The agency says a deeper intake completed in 2020 that's called the third straw continues to let Las Vegas pump water from its primary supply while the lake level continues to decline. The moves come as several states relying on the Colorado River take new steps to conserve water amid ongoing drought and climate change.

New Mexico's Gathering of Nations powwow back after pandemic

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — What is billed by organizers as the world's largest powwow is being held in person in Albuquerque for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The Gathering of Nations is returning following all-virtual powwows in 2020 and 2021. Friday's festivities included a grand entrance, with hundreds of dancers forming a procession that filled the arena at the state fairgrounds. The event wraps up late Saturday with the crowning of Miss Indian World. In 2019, the Gathering of Nations drew more than 80,000 people from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Organizers say it also led to an economic impact of $24 million.

New Mexico legislator to pay $250 fine in ethics settlement

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico state representative has agreed to pay a $250 fine under a settlement with the State Ethics Commission stemming from a drunken driving arrest. The commission said Albuquerque Democrat Georgene Louis violated the state Governmental Conduct Act by seeking favorable treatment from police during her Feb. 13 arrest in Santa Fe by mentioning that she is a legislator. Under the settlement, the commission agreed not to seek a civil enforcement action against Louis, accusing her of violating the act. Louis has apologized for her "lapse in judgment" and announced she won't run for reelection this year. She has pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated DWI,.

New Mexico increases child care funding, still highest in US

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is increasing child care subsidies that are already the most generous and broadly available in the U.S. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the state will start waiving child care copays to middle-income families starting May 1. Child care is basically free in the state for low-income families. The expansion of the program is funded with about $40 million in one-time federal funds. Since last June, New Mexico had offered the most generous subsidies to the broadest set of families in the country. The new announcement means that child care will not only be cheaper but basically free for families of four earning around $100,000.

New Mexico resolves 1987 lawsuit by developmentally disabled

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A legal battle aimed at providing adequate services to people with developmental disabilities in New Mexico has come to a close after more than three decades. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Thursday that a final court order recognizes the state's establishment of a community-based system that protects the health and safety of intellectually and developmentally disabled New Mexico residents. The case stems from a class-action lawsuit that alleged civil rights violations on behalf of developmentally disabled residents at two state-supported institutions. Those facilities closed years ago, but the state's obligations continued under federal government oversight.