Environment

Valles Caldera Open To Visitors Despite Fire

Santa Fe National Forest Espanola District Ranger Sandy Hurlocker, left, VCNP Chief of Interpretation & Education Kimberly DeVall and VCNP Superintendent Jorge Silva-Banuelos watch smoke Friday afternoon from the San Antonio Fire from a spot along San Antonio Creek. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

A tree burns Friday afternoon in the San Antonio Fire on the Valles Caldera National Preserve as Los Alamos Daily Post staff were escorted close to the fire area. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

 

By MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Daily Post

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Udall Advances Strong Investments For New Mexico In Major Interior & Environment Funding Bill

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thursday, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, lead Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, advanced major funding for New Mexico’s public lands, infrastructure, environmental protection and stewardship, and programs for Indian Country as part of the Fiscal Year 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
 
The full Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved Udall’s bill in a committee business meeting Thursday.
 
Udall successfully

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WIPP Breaks Ground For New Ventilation System

WIPP News:
 
CARLSBAD U.S. Department of Energy officials joined with local Southeast New Mexico community leaders Thursday to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new and improved underground ventilation system for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).
 
The Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS) is key to increasing waste shipments to WIPP by allowing mining, waste emplacement, rock bolting and maintenance activities to occur simultaneously.
 
“In my first trip to WIPP as the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management, I am pleased to have

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PEEC: Chick Keller To Lead Wildflower Walk June 18

Wildflower expert Chick Keller. Courtesy/Thomas Graves Photography
 
PEEC News:
 
Learn more about wildflowers on the Pajarito Plateau at 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 18 with Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s Jemez Mountain Herbarium Curator Chick Keller who will lead his monthly Wildflower Walk.
 
Wildflower Walks are easy walks to identify some of the wildflower beauties found in and around Los Alamos. Each month Keller picks a different trail, depending on what is blooming at the time. The walks are free and there is no advance registration required.
 
Attendees

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Chamisa Elementary School And Cortex & Co. Salon Win 2018 Business Recycler Of The Year Awards

COUNTY News:
 
The Business Recycler of the Year award is sponsored by the Los Alamos County Environmental Services Division and the Los Alamos County Environmental Sustainability Board.
 
The Business Recycler of the Year Award is a great avenue to promote recycling in the community and get more businesses participating in the recycle program. To become eligible, a business is nominated by a member of the community for contributing to recycling and waste reduction. The nominees are required to submit a brief overview about how their business recycled and reduced waste. This information

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Chamberlin, Waterbury, Wilmot Tie For Top Predictor

Scene from the ACRR weekly pace race Tuesday at East Park. Courtesy photo
 
ACRR News:
 
Becky Chamberlin, Valerie Waterbury, and Zeke Wilmot all were 3 seconds off their predicted time in the Atomic City Road Runners weekly pace race at East Park.  
 
Other accurate predictors were: Zach Medin with a 5 second differential, 7-year-old Adrian Medin at 6 seconds off, Aaron Jackson and Jason Waterbury tied at 15 seconds, and Ted Williams with a 16 second differential.
 
In the 1 mile run 8-year-old Anders Medin was the best finisher at 8:22 and Priscila Rose was the first female

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Update: Fire In Valles Caldera Burns 426 Acres

The lightning-caused San Antonio Fire on Valles Caldera National Preserve has grown to 426 acres. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

Fire in the Valles Caldera. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

VCNP News: 

The lightning-caused San Antonio Fire on Valles Caldera National Preserve has grown to 426 acres and is located in the northwest area of the preserve between Valle San Antonio and northern boundary.

Resources consist of more than 100 fire personnel. The Albuquerque Zone Incident Management Type 3 Team is on scene and expected to take command at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The Valle Grande


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NMDOH: Wildfire Smoke Health Hazards

Wildfire smoke can present hazards to people’s health. Courtesy image

NMDOH News:

With the Ute Park Fire burning in Colfax County, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) and New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) are monitoring air quality in areas of Northern New Mexico affected by smoke from the wildfire, including Cimarron, Eagle Nest, and Raton.

Over the weekend, NMED set up air quality monitors in Raton and Cimarron. A third monitor is being placed in the Eagle Nest-Angel Fire area today by the US Forest Service.

The monitors will allow the State to gather information about air quality


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Amateur Naturalist: Exploring Cerro Grande Peak – Scene 2 The Forest

An open ponderosa forest appears during a hike to the top of Cerro Grande peak. Stumps with flat, cut-off tops do not appear in this area, suggesting that logging did not occur. Photo by Robert Dryja
 
Amateur Naturalist: Exploring the Cerro Grande Peak
Scene 2 The Forest  
By ROBERT DRYJA
 
We have been following a play called “A Hike to the Top”. Scene 1 of this play is set at the level base of the Cerro Grande Peak. It presents the impact of forest fire, draught, bark beetles and logging. Scene 2 is much pleasanter.
 
Scene 2 starts in open ponderosa forest. The Cerro

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Sen. Heinrich Honored By National Park Trust

Sen. Heinrich at the National Park Trust’s 18th Annual Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award Reception, June 13. Courtesy/National Park Trust
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) was honored by the National Park Trust with the 18th Annual Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. for his outstanding efforts to support and advocate for the protection of America’s public lands and encouraging kids to experience the great outdoors.
 
He was recognized for championing the bipartisan Every Kid Outdoors Act

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Scenes From Fire Burning In Valles Caldera

A large tanker drops a load of slurry on the lightning-caused fire late Thursday afternoon that has burned more than 100 acres in the Valles Caldera backcounty. Updates on this fire will be published as they become available … check back for more photos from the scene. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

A small helicopter helps direct the air drops by the tanker and checks results of the drop. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

As Thursday draws to a close the tanker heads for the runway to prepare for another day. The air drops help to put the fire to sleep for the night. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com


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Daily Postcard: Century Plant Blooms In White Rock

Daily Postcard: A century plant blooms at a residence on Bryce Street in White Rock. Although it is called a century plant, it typically lives only 10 to 30 years. It has a spread around 6–10 feet with gray-green leaves of 3–5 feet long, each with a prickly margin and a heavy spike at the tip that can pierce deeply. Near the end of its life, the plant sends up a tall, branched stalk, laden with yellow blossoms, that may reach up to 30 feet tall. Its common name derives from its semelparous nature of flowering only once at the end of its long life. The plant dies after flowering, but produces


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Evening Update: Valles Caldera Fire Burns 100 Acres

The lightning-caused fire that started this afternoon in the Valles Caldera backcountry has burned more than 100 acres. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com

VCNP News:

JEMEZ SPRINGS — The fire that began earlier this afternoon on Valles Caldera National Preserve being called the San Antonio Fire is lightning-caused and has burned more than 100 acres in the northwest corner of the preserve.

Fire crews are working on the ground and in the air to suppress the fire burning in ponderosa pine and douglas fir stands.

Resources on scene and en route include multiple engines, one hot shot crew, air tac,


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Update: Valles Caldera Fire Burns 50 Acres

COUNTY UPDATE: The fire spotted at 2:20 p.m. today in the Valles Caldera near San Antonio Mountain is estimated to have burned about 50 acres. The Los Alamos Fire Department has not been requested to respond to the fire at this time. National Forest and Valles Caldera have fire-fighting resources working the fire. A special weather statement was just issued for the Jemez Mountain area about storms with heavy rainfall moving into the area on Friday, so, there may be a good chance that rain is on the way to help firefighters. While LAFD is monitoring the situation, the county is relying on postings


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Fire Burning In Valles Caldera

Los Alamos County reports that a fire was spotted at 2:20 p.m. today in the Valles Caldera near San Antonio Mountain. Smoke is visible over the western mountains of Los Alamos. Fire resources are actively working at the site right now. The County will provide more information as it becomes available. Photo by Brian Nelson

Fire resources are actively working at the site of a fire right now in the Valles Caldera. The County will provide more information as it becomes available. Photo by Brian Nelson


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Bipartisan Group Of Senators File Amendment To Require Release Of Water Contamination Report

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) led a bipartisan group of senators in filing an amendment Wednesday to require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to publish an unreleased federal study about widespread water contamination from commonly-used chemicals.
 
According to media reports and publicly available emails, officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blocked the release of the HHS report showing that far lower levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) threaten human health

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Los Alamos National Laboratory And U.S. Army Working On Replacement For Toxic TNT

Chavez TNT Replacement: Explosives chemist David Chavez pours an example of melt-castable explosive into a copper mold at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Technical Area 9. Courtesy/LANL

 

LANL News:

 

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Md., have developed a novel “melt-cast” explosive material that could be a suitable replacement for Trinitrotoluene, more commonly known as TNT.

 

“The Army and the Laboratory, through the Joint Munitions Program, have been looking for a TNT replacement,” said David Chavez,


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