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New Mexico News

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

Priceless seeds, sprouts key to US West's post-fire future

The mission was to rescue tens of thousands of invaluable tree sprouts from a research center in New Mexico and to keep safe a vital bank of millions of pine, spruce and other conifer seeds that will be used to restore fire-ravaged landscapes across the West. Owen Burney and his team succeeded in evacuating most of the priceless collection. But the superintendent of New Mexico State University's Forestry Research Center says the massive fire still churning through New Mexico highlights the need for collecting more seed, building more nurseries and planting more seedlings. The center is one of only a few such nurseries in the US and stands at the forefront of a major undertaking to rebuild more resilient forests as wildfires burn hotter, faster and more often.

No arrests made yet in fatal shooting of Albuquerque woman

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say they still are investigating a shooting at a gas station in March that left an Albuquerque woman dead. Police say a man and three teenagers allegedly were involved but no arrests have been made yet. Two of the four suspects were going to a city park to buy marijuana when they told police they allegedly were robbed and beaten by two men wearing masks. The victims told police they met up with two other teens at the gas station and stayed there, believing the robbers would return to the scene. An SUV pulled up and three teens fired about 30 shots at the vehicle, killing a female passenger. According to police, the occupants of the SUV were innocent bystanders and didn't know the teens.

Some New Mexico wildfire evacuees worry about their future

MORA, N.M. (AP) — As more than 2,700 firefighters in northern New Mexico continue to battle the nation's largest active wildfire, many evacuees are worried about their future. Hundreds have been away from their homes for more than a month now due to the biggest fire in the state's recorded history, and some say their financial resources are dwindling. Officials at Glorieta Adventure Camps said there have been 67 coronavirus cases among evacuees, including some that required hospitalization. Meanwhile, the six-week-old wildfire remained 40% contained around its perimeter Sunday.

Extreme fire threats prompt US suspension of planned burns

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The head of the U.S. Forest Service is suspending planned burning operations to clear out brush and small trees at all national forests while his agency conducts a 90-day review of protocols and practices. Forest Chief Randy Moore made the announcement Friday. He cited the hot and dry weather and extreme winds that have led to explosive fire behavior across the Southwest. Nearly 6,000 firefighters are battling fires in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and California. Crews at the biggest fire in northern New Mexico worked to reinforce fire lines as winds gusted to 40 mph. Forecasters say several days of cooler, moister conditions beginning Saturday should provide some relief.

New Mexico advocates review plan aimed at education deficits

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Advocates are weighing in on Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's plan to address an ongoing lawsuit that highlights shortcomings of the state's education system. The plaintiffs in the case represent around 70% of all K-12 students. They say the governor's effort still lacks specific details and funding estimates. A state court reaffirmed in 2020 that New Mexico was failing to provide an "adequate" education for vulnerable student groups, including Native American and low-income students. A spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham says the administration is looking forward to gathering public comments and that specific actions will be outlined later.

2 New Mexico tribes closer to recreational cannabis sales

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two tribes in northern New Mexico are closer to having recreational cannabis sales after signing taxation agreements with the state last week. State officials are announcing the agreement this week saying they're formally recognizing the authority of the Pojoaque and Picuris pueblos to sell and tax cannabis. The state's 12% tax on the product won't be levied on products sold by the tribes. Tribes will still have to operate in a legal gray zone, as cannabis is illegal at the federal level. Federal law enforcement have raided cannabis grow sites in Picuris Pueblo, including those that followed state laws.

Gusty winds fan wildfires in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More than 5,000 firefighters are battling multiple wildland blazes in dry, windy weather across the Southwest. The fires include one that has destroyed dozens of structures in western Texas and another that is picking up steam again in New Mexico. Evacuation orders remained in place Thursday for residents near fires in Texas, Colorado and New Mexico. Dangerous fire weather was forecast to continue through Friday, especially in New Mexico where the largest U.S. fire has burned for more than a month. The governor expects the number of structures that have burned to rise to more than 1,000. That fire has burned more than 473 square miles.

New Mexico court upholds $165M damage awards in FedEx crash

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday upheld jury awards of $165 million against FedEx in a wrongful-death lawsuit stemming from a deadly crash involving a Texas family and a contract driver for the delivery company. The 2011 crash on Interstate 10 west of Las Cruces killed Marialy Venegas Morga of and her 4-year-old daughter and critically injured the El Paso woman's 19-month-old son when the family's small pickup was rear-ended by the big rig. Truck driver Elizabeth Quintana also died. FedEx' argued unsuccessfully that the damage awards were excessive and that a judge should have ordered a new trial.