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

  • HIGH ALTITUDE OBSERVATION

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A technology company that wants to bring broadband to more remote areas and monitor emissions from the oil and gas industry has launched one of its airships from the New Mexico desert. Tuesday's liftoff by Sceye Inc. is the latest test of the company's high-altitude platform station. The unmanned helium-filled station reached the stratosphere Tuesday and will maintain its position for 24 hours. Company officials say the milestone will bring Sceye closer to commercial operations and they'll aim for longevity with subsequent test flights. The company partnered last year with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and New Mexico regulators to study air pollution and climate change.

  • WESTERN WILDFIRES

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Fire crews in northern Arizona are getting help from the weather as they work to get a handle on wildfires near the outskirts of Flagstaff. Winds moderated Tuesday after a day of red flag conditions and a fire spokesperson says that has given firefighters some optimism. Authorities have downgraded the scale of evacuations but residents of hundreds of homes are still under orders to stay out of the fire areas. Wildfires broke out early this spring in multiple states in the Western U.S., where climate change and an enduring drought are fanning the frequency and intensity of forest and grassland fires.

  • WESTERN WILDFIRES

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Wildfires burning throughout the American West are forcing evacuations as crews deal with more hot, windy and dry conditions. Residents were ordered to flee remote homes near a wildfire in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles. In Arizona, firefighters are battling a wildfire on the northern outskirts of Flagstaff that has forced evacuations in the same area as another springtime blaze. Firefighters in New Mexico are battling some of the nation's largest blazes in tinder dry forests. Federal officials say the number of acres burned nationwide so far this year is more than double the 10-year average.

  • BC-NM-OBIT-FORMER NAVAJO NATION OFFICIAL EDWARD BEGAY

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Edward T. Begay, who was vice chairman of the Navajo Nation in the 1980s, died Sunday, according to his family. He was 87. No cause of death was given by Begay's family, but they say he died in Albuquerque surrounded by family members. Begay was head of the legislative branch during some key moments in tribal government. He also presided over the Navajo Nation Council when the tribe incorporated traditional, natural and customary laws into its government system. Begay, who grew up in New Mexico, Begay represented the Churchrock and Breadsprings Chapters on the tribal council from 1971-83. As vice chairman from 1983-87, Begay worked closely with the council to renegotiate mineral, coal, oil, and gas leases with major energy companies.

  • COLORADO RIVER-IMPERILED FISH

PAGE, Ariz. (AP) — A key fish that has dwelt in the Colorado River since ancient times, and whose presence indicates a healthy river, is now up against a threat from a giant dam above. The humpback chub has long been the focus of restoration efforts -- successful ones. But as the waters of Lake Powell sink lower than ever, nonnative predator fish could make their way down through the inner works of Glen Canyon Dam to the river below where they feed on the chub. Federal, state and tribal agencies are urgently trying to devise a strategy to keep the predators penned up. The situation raises the question: How alive is a river if it loses its key native fish?

  • AP-US-DUAL-LANGUAGE-LEARNING

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The most heavily Hispanic state in the U.S. has added to the number of dual language programs for public school students since the start of the pandemic. With New Mexico students having significant access to Spanish and English education programs, it will be up to state lawmakers to address the challenges of boosting participation. Legislative analysts are expected this month to release a report on the programs. Bilingual and multicultural programs are seen as a way for students to have academics tailored to their needs and to maintain their cultures. Despite recent gains, such programs in the state aren't being used by many of the students who most need them.

  • SOUTHWEST HEAT

Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver and California's Death Valley have all posted record temperatures as dangerous heat sweeps over the American Southwest. The National Weather Service in Phoenix reported a temperature of 114 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, tying the record high for the date set back in 1918. Las Vegas tied a record for the day set in 1956, with temperatures soaring to 109 F. In Colorado, Denver hit 100 F (38 C), tying a record set in 2013 for both the high temperature and the earliest calendar day to reach 100 F. Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories were also issued for parts of Northern California through the Central Valley and down to the southeastern deserts.

  • RUIDOSO-TOURISM FUNDING

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More than two months after being impacted by a huge wildfire, the Village of Ruidoso is looking to make a tourism comeback. The Albuquerque Journal reported Friday that Ruidoso and the state Tourism Department are jointly earmarking $150,000 to help lure visitors to the southern New Mexico community. Ruidoso is still recovering from the so-called McBride Fire that destroyed more than 200 homes and killed two people in April. The blaze became fully contained a month ago. The funding will focus on tourists in west Texas, a source of the most travelers to Ruidoso. Town officials say there is still a lot of scenery to enjoy.