Category: Cronkite News

Volcanic soil, old artillery shells challenge crews managing the Maroon Fire

Dylan Simard Friday, June 14, 2019 Volcanic soil, old artillery shells challenge crews managing the Maroon Fire FLAGSTAFF – Amidst the sweet-smelling smoke of ponderosa pine, wildland firefighters are laboring to maintain – not extinguish – a wildfire burning in the Coconino National Forest northeast of Flagstaff. Their work is made more complicated by two factors: unusual volcanic soil and a “no-go zone”: a decommissioned artillery range the Army suspects contains unexploded ordnance from the 1940s and ’50s. On the firefighters’ 15,000-acre planning map, the zone is marked with a large black circle. After the lightning-caused Maroon Fire was detected May 16, the U.S. Forest Service decided to control and manage the fire rather than put it out. About 8,600 acres had burned as of this week. The Forest Service has been letting wildfires burn more often, when humans aren’t endangered. “We live in a fire adapted ecosystem in northern Arizona,” said Aaron Graeser, who’s an incident management team commander on the Maroon Fire. “Fire is a natural part of the way this ecosystem functions and should function.” For nearly a century, the usual approach has been to suppress fires when they start to protect homes and people. But wildfire is a natural process and necessary for the health of forests. “So this means that for 100 years, you’ve taken out this essential, energetic ecosystem metabolic process, fundamental to...

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Utah presses forward on pipeline despite strains on Colorado River

Judy Fahys Friday, June 14, 2019 Utah presses forward on pipeline despite strains on Colorado River ST. GEORGE, Utah – The drive behind an enormous water project in southwestern Utah, the Lake Powell Pipeline, shows no signs of slowing even after the seven Colorado River Basin states signed a new agreement this spring that could force cutbacks and more conservation. Despite the shrinking of the overtapped Colorado, four Upper Basin states – Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico – are pushing forward with planned dams, reservoir expansions and pipelines that would allow them to capture what they were promised under the 1922 Colorado River Compact. That agreement, which has been amended and added to for decades, reserves 7.5 million acre-feet for the Upper Basin and 7.5 million acre-feet for the Lower Basin states of Arizona, Nevada and California. Residents of Upper Basin states contend that Arizona, California and Nevada have been using “their” water for nearly a century. President Donald Trump signed the basin-wide drought contingency plan in April, just weeks after Utah declared in a news release that the river, which serves 40 million people in the Southwest, is “a reliable source of water.” “What they need to do, the lower states, is use their right that’s allocated to them and we will use our right that’s allocated to us,” said Mike Styler, who retired recently after 14...

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7-year-old girl dies crossing border; authorities are looking for others

Michel Marizco Friday, June 14, 2019 7-year-old girl dies crossing border; authorities are looking for others TUCSON – The body of a 7-year-old girl was found near the Arizona-Mexico border Wednesday morning, and authorities searched the desert for another child and a woman believed to be from India. The U.S. Border Patrol and Mexico’s federal police on Thursday afternoon were searching the desert west of Lukeville for another child and a woman from India who may have crossed back into Mexico. On Wednesday, the agents encountered two women from India who told them a third woman and two children had gotten separated from the group. Agents found the remains of the child, who is thought to be from India, as well as footprints heading back to Mexico. “That portion of the border there is a highway system that runs very close to the border itself, so it’s possible that the subjects went back to the highway,” Border Patrol spokesman Pete Bidegain said. Agents said smugglers dropped the group off near the border. Temperatures neared 110 the day the child was found. The Fronteras Desk is a KJZZ project that covers news in a wide expanse of desert that stretches from northern Arizona deep into northwestern...

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7-year-old girl dies crossing border; authorities are looking for others

Michel Marizco Friday, June 14, 2019 7-year-old girl dies crossing border; authorities are looking for others TUCSON – The body of a 7-year-old girl was found near the Arizona-Mexico border Wednesday morning, and authorities searched the desert for another child and a woman believed to be from India. The U.S. Border Patrol and Mexico’s federal police on Thursday afternoon were searching the desert west of Lukeville for another child and a woman from India who may have crossed back into Mexico. On Wednesday, the agents encountered two women from India who told them a third woman and two children had gotten separated from the group. Agents found the remains of the child, who is thought to be from India, as well as footprints heading back to Mexico. “That portion of the border there is a highway system that runs very close to the border itself, so it’s possible that the subjects went back to the highway,” Border Patrol spokesman Pete Bidegain said. Agents said smugglers dropped the group off near the border. Temperatures neared 110 the day the child was found. The Fronteras Desk is a KJZZ project that covers news in a wide expanse of desert that stretches from northern Arizona deep into northwestern...

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