Smoke and Bird Updates

Photos R.W.

A brief smoke event with the wind travelling in the same direction as yesterday, but much less fierce, and picking up much less smoke. The Forest Service update tells us that the affected area has grown to 256 acres.

They also include an interesting explanation for yesterday’s photogenic event: “Fire activity was low to moderate throughout the day Saturday until about 5:30 p.m. when a storm cell brought much stronger winds out of the north, drastically increasing fire activity and pushing the fire to the south. The winds also helped create the very visible smoke column in the late afternoon. The blacklining that crews had worked on over the past several days held the fire in spite of the dramatic shift in wind direction and speed. Today, crews on scene continued to blackline the perimeter and look for spot fires. ”

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(Fake) Drama Above and Below and (Illegal Leaks of) Fire and Water

Photos R.W.


The Peggy Fire as seen from a mesa in Red Rocks.

Do not believe what you hear or what you see. You might have read on these pages chilling warnings against life threatening  walls of storm water rushing down arroyos and calm reassurances about low intensity puffs of smoke lingering through the morning. Well…

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Flash Flood Watch from Now Until 9 p.m. on Saturday


The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for a portion of north and central New Mexico including the Jemez. Slow moving thunderstorms are likely to dump up to 2 inches of rain with locally higher numbers possible, where storms revisit the same area. This could lead to localized flash flooding. Small hail and wind gusts to near 50 mph are possible with the stronger storms.

Locally heavy rainfall potential will increase and become more widespread late Sunday into Monday.

Rufous Loses Control

Photos R.W.

Ever since he arrived on the scene Mr. Rufous ruled the space around the feeder not allowing any other hummer the slightest sip. His aerial acrobatic reflexes, skills and tactics were quite impressive as he kept swarms of others of his kind at bay.

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Still Smoldering up on Peggy

Photos R.W.

The fire on Peggy Mesa, in its fourth day this Friday is making some slow progress and has grown from 11 acres yesterday to 35 acres today. There have been no more updates from the Forest Service since this morning. The air is pretty still and the smoke appears to be rising and drifting in a northeasterly direction.

Here are a few images of the rising smoke as seen from US Highway 4 this afternoon:



Grasshopper Bait Available at the Jemez Springs Farmers Market

By Jennifer Olson


This week at the Farmers Market we will have arugula, balms, beets, cabbage, cards, carrots, chard, cinnamon rolls, coffee, collards, cucumbers, eggs, garlic, herbs, honey, jams. jewelry, kale, lettuce, onions, photos, radishes, soaps, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, wristees, yogurt, zucchini, and endless possibilities of fruits and nuts and other great stuff, plus grasshopper bait.

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The 2016 Consumer Confidence Report for the Canon Mutual Domestic Water Association is Available for Viewing

By Wayne Punjak

The Canon Water Association Consumer Confidence Report CMDWA Board is pleased to announce availability of the 2016 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). This report, prepared annually, is designed to provide details about where the association’s water comes from, what it contains, and how it compares to standards set by regulatory agencies. It is a snapshot of last year’s water quality.

We are committed to providing you with information because informed members are our best allies. Members may request a copy of the 2016 CCR by emailing or calling (575) 834-7853. Copies are also posted at the Jemez Valley Community Center in Canon, the Jemez Valley Credit Union, the Jemez Valley Medical Clinic, and Post Offices in Jemez Springs, Jemez Pueblo and San Ysidro, and on the CMDWA Facebook page. Thanks!

Peggy Fire Update

By Julie Anne Overton


The smoke as seen last Tuesday, the day the fire started. Since then there has been some heavy rain in parts of the Jemez Valley, but apparently it did not drench the area, Peggy Mesa, where this low intensity fire continous to smolder.

Update on the Update:    Smoke has increased, with impacts expected in Gilman and Jemez Pueblo. Flame lengths of 1-2 feet are evident.  Afternoon and evening higher humidities continue to moderate the fire activity.  The fire is being monitored with daily patrols.


Start Date: July 18, 2017

Cause: Lightning

Size:  Approximately 11 acres

Location: On the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest, the fire is located on Peggy Mesa approximately 2 miles northwest of Gilman Tunnels.

Vegetation:  The fire is burning in piñon pines, juniper, ponderosa pine, and oak scrub brush.

Current Situation:  A lightning strike ignited a single standing dead tree (snag) that spread the fire into surrounding slash and nearby dead and down timber.  The low-intensity fire is creeping and smoldering.  The fire is in monitor status.

Smoke/Air Quality:  Smoke may be visible from the US Route 550, and NM Hwy 4 at Jemez Pueblo.  It is not generating a lot of smoke or affecting many communities. Individuals sensitive to smoke, as well as those with respiratory or heart disease, are reminded to take precautionary measures.  Air quality information and health protection measures are available online at the New Mexico Department of Health’s website:

Fire Information:  Fire updates are posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at and on @SantaFeNF and  Additional information can be obtained from the Jemez Ranger District at 575-829-3535.


Real Estate Crash in San Ysidro


It has been crashing, very slowly, for some years now. At one time the area echoed to the sound of roaring motorcycle engines as they skimmed over a very lumpy and dusty course by the side of U.S. 550, just this side of Cabezon Road. It sure is scenic (if you’re careful which direction you look in), but not very peaceful, what with the mesa being hollowed out for its precious gypsum, and the crazed traffic on what has been declared New Mexico’s most dangerous highway, pouring up and down its four lanes.

Now, the once proud and bold for sale sign is sinking, in painful slow-motion, to be completely gone some time over the next few decades.

New Fitness Center Breaks Ground


Tribal Councilmen, the Governors, tribal staff and community members gathered at the Walatowa Youth Center on Thursday, June 29, to officially break ground for the new Fitness Center to be built adjacent to the building. Tribal Administrator Senator Benny Shendo, Jr. welcomed the group and served as emcee. Adam Waquie offered the opening prayer.

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Call to Drone Operators for Situational Awareness

Julie Anne Overton


Photo Tom Hoefen/USGS, Public Domain.

The annual aerial survey for insect and disease outbreaks on the 1.6- million-acre Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) could begin as early as Monday, July 17, and continue intermittently through Aug. 18.

Forest Service airplanes and helicopters regularly fly over private, state, and National Forest System lands at low altitudes to perform a variety of natural resource management missions, including insect and disease surveys, remote sensing to acquire aerial images and data, and firefighting.Continue reading


Photo R.W. 

Looking west toward Guadalupe/Gilman Valley a fair amount of smoke rising in the air. It decreased as the evening went by, and there was no mention of it on any of the National Forest pages. And now just before 8:30 p.m., a few lonely little drops of rain have been observed hurling themselves to the ground, leaving, for a brief moment, tiny spots of moisture where they fell . Monsoon 2017 (not really).

Playing Cynical Games with the Lives and Health of the American People

By R.W.


Having failed to get acceptance for his proposed health care act President Trump has now offered his latest solution: do nothing, sabotage the system by allowing it to completely collapse, hope the worst will happen and then see how everyone feels; see if they still show willing to resist his proposals.

“As I have always said,” tweeted Trump, though he had never actually said so before, “let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!”

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Cajete Fire Declared Controlled at Last


The Cajete Fire on the Santa Fe National Forest’s Jemez Ranger District was declared controlled at 12:45 p.m. Sunday, July 16, thanks to recent moisture that arrived with the monsoon season.  The 1,412-acre Cajete Fire, which started on June 15 from an abandoned campfire, has been 96% contained since June 21. 

Incident command determined that the uncontained 4% of the fire perimeter was not safe for firefighters to enter.  The area near Los Griegos Peak is in the burn scar from the 2011 Las Conchas Fire and still contains multiple hazard trees or “snags” which can fall without warning.  The burn scar held the fire in place without exposing firefighters to unnecessary risk.

The June 20 order which closed all lands, roads and trails within the Cajete Fire perimeter remains in place until July 31, unless it is rescinded earlier.  The closure order includes a segment of the Las Conchas Trail (#137) between the last bridge coming from the Las Conchas Trailhead (before the trail ascends) and the East Fork Trailhead.

Hazardous Weather Outlook for Jemez Area


Update: This forecast was issued at about 2:00 p.m. and is no longer up. Also, the hazardous weather warning has been removed from the regular National Weather Service forecast site.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for portions of north and central New Mexico that includes he Jemez area. Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain along the western portion of the Thompson Ridge burn scar. Up to 1.35 inches of rain has fallen in the last 30 minutes near Sulphur Springs. Flash flooding is expected to begin shortly. This may impact the Thompson Ridge burn scar including but not limited to Sulphur Creek Road, Sulphur Springs, Freelove Canyon, Mormon Canyon, Deer Canyon, Valles Caldera Preserve Headquarters, Redondo Creek, and Redondo Peak area.

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Lifted


Thanks to recent precipitation and decreasing fire danger, the Santa Fe National Forest has lifted campfire and smoking restrictions on Friday, July 14, at 8:00 a.m.  The forest implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions on June 23 based on dry conditions and higher-than-normal temperatures.

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Location Location Location

Some news and activity in the film production scene in New Mexico in the last few days. A current production, “Highway”, is being filmed partly in Moriarty, which makes perfect sense, since there is a highway in Moriarty. But, the NM Film Office also proudly announced that something called “Arizona” has just finished being filmed not just in New Mexico, but even in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

Film buffs might recall that one of the big all-time hit movies, the 1955 Rogers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma” was shot in Nogales, Arizona. This was described as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. National Film Registry. So if Nogales is more like Oklahoma than Oklahoma is, no doubt Rio Rancho is more like Arizona than Arizona is, which says a lot about Arizona.

Here are some details about the two productions, as provided by the New Mexico Film Office:

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Power Surges Sweep Away Carefully Assembled Pixels

By R.W.

It was a dark and stormy late afternoon…

Well, there was at least a definite movement of air and little globs of rain could be observed hitting the ground here and there. This catastrophic meteorological event (climate change?) that shook the valley surged into my hard drive picking up a cloud of pixels and swept them into deep space leaving my desktop device an empty shell, screen all drained of life, blank, not even blue any more.

As time passed and electric panic passed, surge after surge, familiar looking hopeful suggestions in a bold, archaic white on black font, loomed out of the digital darkness on the monitor and eventually, after nearly a whole day, led to a miraculous recovery. The Jemez Post is back.

Electricity is cheap in the Jemez, thank you Coop, can’t complain about that, but these violent electric events that fry electric devices and call for bigger and better protective devices can be costly.

I will now peer into the world wide web, but glancing out of the window all the time, with my hand firmly grasping the power cable, ready to yank it off the grid at the slightest draft or drifting cloudlets threatening moisture.


Jemez Springs Burglaries Surge

By R.W.

If it wasn’t so tragic, it would be comic, or at least so bizarre as to be improbable.

A horrible report on Jemez Springs appeared in today’s KRQE web page and TV news detailing a surge of burglaries and the circumstances surrounding them. The lovely peaceful village, hidden away from the crime-ridden centers of crime-ridden New Mexico is being publicized in the state as a center of a crime wave. Bizarre can be comic, but here it is tragic. Local residents have been stricken with repeated break-ins, often loosing not just valuables, but deeply treasured and irreplaceable family possessions.

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232 Percent Increase in Native Uninsurance Would Devastate New Mexico’s Tribal Communities

By Sharon Kayne

Communications Director, NM VOICES FOR CHILDREN

By slashing Medicaid and making marketplace coverage unaffordable, the U.S. Senate Republican health bill would have devastating consequences for New Mexico’s Native Americans. The uninsured rate among Native Americans in New Mexico would jump an estimated 232 percent under the bill, according to a new report from the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.“The Senate Republican health bill would be devastating to Native American people living in New Mexico,” said James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children. “Our tribal communities are the cultural backbone of our state and have proven their resiliency despite centuries of challenges. These communities already face significant barriers to getting health care, despite centuries-old treaties and promises. A bill that makes things worse is unacceptable.”

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Battle to Save the Internet and Stop Censorship and Corruption

By R.W.

Courtesy image.

Large telecommunication corporations are trying to grab the internet to promote their commercial and political ends, and roll back net neutrality. Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, among others, are moving to make extra charges for what we access online and to have more control over what we see and do.  Free Press, an Open Internet advocacy group notes that recent moves by the Trump administration have aimed to abolish the 2015 FCC decision to regulate internet providers as utilities and to scale back regulations.

These regulations call for the telecommunications companies that provide online access to treat all internet traffic equally and not slow or block some sites. Eliminating them would allow the telecommunications giants to dominate the Internet for financial gain while limiting the freedom and privacy of consumers.

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Forest Plan Revision Open Houses to Take Place in Santa Fe and Pecos.


These Open Houses are intended to keep the public involved between our more formal rounds of public meetings and we will keep you informed when we are ready for the next round of evening and technical public meetings. If you can’t make it to an Open House, please call (505-438-5442) or email ( us with any questions.

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IAIA Receives $20,000 Award to Expand Artist in Residence Program


 Photo © Eric Davis Courtesy of IAIA
Lloyd Kiva New Welcome Center IAIA Campus 

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chuhas approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $20,000 to IAIA to expand the IAIA Artist-in-Residence Program. The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

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National Parks Senior Pass Prices Increase


It’s official, Senior Pass prices are going up August 28th. An annual, and lifetime pass with be available for $20 and $80 respectively.

On August 28, 2017, the price of the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass will increase for the first time since 1994. The additional revenue will be used to enhance the visitor experience in parks. Learn more about the changes, what they mean for you, and how the additional funds will be used.

Why is the price of the Senior Pass increasing?

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Gathering Monsoon Both Decreases and Increases Fire Danger

A couple of lightning caused fires that have broken out currently suggest a different pattern of fire danger emerging. The forests are still dry and ready to ignite at any carelessly flicked cigarette butt or abandoned campfire, but the recent weather has brought with it some increased moisture in the forests together with instances of dry lightning storms.

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Riding the Railrunner

A Sunday ride on New Mexico’s outbreak of transportation infrastructure, all the way from Bernalillo to Belen (and back).

The train itself is very pleasant, it hoots a lot, that probably saves lives, it is air-conditioned, which matters on days like this, doesn’t sway too much, builds speed once in a while and travels through some improbable landscapes, stuff you don’t normally see through your car windows, at least not from these angles. The fainthearted I must warn, not all the images below are pretty (and often blurry, taken through clean, but somewhat fuzzy windows on a moving train):

Photos R.W.

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