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ROAD ADVISORY:

WATER RUNNING – GILA/CLIFF AREA

NM 153 from mile post 0 to 3 (Gila) water is running along dips, with debris due to rain and flooding. Seek alternate route if possible, the NMDOT will continue to monitor.

CLOSURE – Gila

NM 211 at mile post 3.5 (Gila) the roadway is closed due to water running across roadway. Seek alternate route, the NMDOT will continue to monitor.

Silver City, NM, July 9, 2018—The Gila National Forest has received varied amounts of rainfall over the past few days. Many areas of the forest have received little to no rain.

“It’s good to see monsoon season beginning,” said Forest Supervisor Adam Mendonca, “but as of now we have not had enough moisture to lift fire restrictions”. The forest reviewed the data in a meeting this morning, and will review again on Monday, July 16, to see what impact any additional rains had on area-wide fuel moistures.”

Acres: ~4,500 Start Date: June 30, 2018

Cause: Lightning Location: 4 miles northeast of Saddle Mountain, Gila NF
Fuels: Timber (litter, grass and understory) Total Personnel: 210
General Information: The Owl Fire began on June 30, 2018. The fire is located on Aspen Mountain and has crossed FR 209 into Frieborn Canyon in an inventoried roadless area (IRA). Heavy fuels will continue to hold heat until substantial rainfall over the area. The fire perimeter is currently 51% contained.

Fire Operations: Prep has been completed on Horse Mesa, and crews will monitor and evaluate the need for firing operations as necessary. On the southwest corner of the fire, crews are assessing direct line construction options to stop the fire spread. Some resources have begun mopping up and coordinating efforts to rehab brush and debris caused by prep work. Air resources are assigned to the incident.

Members request control to construct, operate and maintain the NM Unit

{Editor's Note: This is the final part of a two-part series of articles on the July 3, 2018 meeting of the NM CAP Entity.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

In new business at the New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity regular meeting on July 3, 2018, members addressed whether they want to have authorization to construct, operate and maintain the New Mexico Unit.

In the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act, the entity, which is the successor to the Southwest New Mexico Water Planning Group, has the right to request authorization to construct, operate and maintain the New Mexico Unit, for which they are seeking approved by the end of 2019.

"I wanted to bring this to the attention of the board," Entity Executive Director Anthony Gutierrez said. "It could change our costs, if the CAP chooses not to request from the Secretary of the Interior authorization to construct, operate and maintain the New Mexico Unit. If we choose not to make this request, the Bureau of Reclamation could potentially take over the responsibility. That would change the cost of the overall project. But it could also change the look of the potential requirements, such as the rights-of-way for maintenance, where we are trying to avoid any additional impact. This is a good time, as we get into the NEPA phase, as we do the initial designing, to make this request, if this body feels like it wants to take on the responsibility. There would have to be changes made, I presume. Some of the things we might have to consider would be the second fiscal agent. I am opening it up for discussion."

{Editor's Note: This is part 1 of a two-part series of article on the July 3, 2018 meeting of the NM CAP Entity.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

The New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity at its regular monthly meeting on July 3, 2018, had no members of the public come forward to comment, so the first item of old business addressed a letter received from the NM Attorney General, which notified the entity that it had been determined that the entity had not violated the Open Meetings Act.

On April 18, 2017, former Interstate Stream Commission director and retired engineer, Norm Gaume, submitted a statement to the Attorney General alleging violations of the OMA by the entity. On June 18, 2018, the AG's office issued a three-and-a half page detailed document stating they had reviewed the complaints that the Entity had failed to take action with its contracts in public meetings. "Based on our review, as discussed below, we conclude that the NM CAP Entity did not violate OMA as alleged in the complaint."

Entity Member Howard Hutchinson, representing the San Francisco Soil and Water Conservation District asked if the entity should respond.

Acres: ~4,500 Start Date: June 30, 2018

Cause: Lightning Location: 4 miles northeast of Saddle Mountain, Gila NF
Fuels: Timber (litter, grass and understory) Total Personnel: 219
General Information: The Owl Fire began on June 30, 2018. It is south of Aspen Mountain, near the Flying T trail in an inventoried roadless area (IRA). Heavy fuels will continue to hold heat until substantial rainfall over the area.

Fire Operations: Prep has been completed on Horse Mesa, and crews will monitor and evaluate the need for firing operations as necessary. Some resources have begun mopping up and coordinating efforts to rehab brush and debris caused by prep work. Air resources are assigned to the incident.

Low to moderate fire growth due to high overnight recoveries.

Acres: ~4,500 Start Date: June 30, 2018
Cause: Lightning Location: 4 miles northeast of Saddle Mountain, Gila NF
Fuels: Timber (litter, grass and understory) Total Personnel: 276
General Information: The Owl Fire began on June 30, 2018. It is south of Aspen Mountain, near the Flying T trail in an inventoried roadless area (IRA). Heavy fuels will continue to hold heat until substantial rainfall over the area.

Fire Operations: Crews will continue to prep Horse Mesa for ignitions, continue firing operations on Forest Road 209 and constructing line in Bull Basin. Air resources are assigned to the incident.

Photos by Mary Alice Murphy

The Southwest New Mexico Quilters held their annual quilt show at the Grant County Veterans Memorial Business and Conference Center from July 2-4, 2018.

Carol Pickering organized the show, which featured 67 quilts and 30 donated for sale. Vendors also showed their wares.

Live from Silver City

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