Brush Fire Near Rio Rancho Grows To 2,100 Acres, Inmate Sues For Right To Breastfeed

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Brush Fire Grows To 2,100 Acres In Rio RanchoKOB-TV, KRQE-TV

A brush fire near Rio Rancho grew rapidly Sunday from 300 acres to nearly 2,100.

KOB-TV reports the Encino Fire started around 1 p.m. near King Boulevard and Encino Road five miles from Rio Rancho and no structures were being threatened as of Sunday evening.

Ten agencies are working on the fire including about 100 firefighters. KRQE-TV quoted Sandoval County Fire officials who said there was zero containment on the fire, but that it is starting to slow down. However the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office told KRQE it was almost completely contained.

Land Commissioner Halts Oil And Gas Related Well EasementsHobbs Sun-News, Associated Press

Oil and gas companies need water to drill and produce, but State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has taken action to cut back usage of fresh water from the Ogallala aquifer, which is a source of drinking water serving Hobbs and other cities in southeastern New Mexico.

Dunn announced in May that he will stop issuing or renewing easements intended for use of fresh water for oil industry activities.

Dunn told the Hobbs News-Sun Wednesday that his action was in response to the City of Eunice selling water for hydraulic fracturing commonly known as fracking. Dunn says he will continue to issue easements for water going to citizens.

Mayor Matt White sees the move as a threat to the city of Eunice that heavily relies on oil and gas industries.

Authorities: Pastor Missing After Search For Hidden TreasureGrand Junction Daily Sentinel, Associated Press

Authorities say a pastor from Grand Junction who has been reported missing in New Mexico was searching for a famous hidden treasure, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports.

The newspaper says that New Mexico State Police Lt. Elizabeth Armijo confirmed family members told authorities that Paris Wallace had come to the Española area to search for a chest of gold rumored to be hidden in the mountains.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported the rough terrain around Española is the southernmost territory targeted by adventurous individuals seeking the treasure of Forrest Fenn.

Fenn, an eccentric author, announced that he hid a chest full of gold and jewels somewhere in the Rocky Mountains worth at least $1 million in 2010. Those who seek the alleged treasure say the clues are hidden in his writings.

The newspaper reports that no one has been in contact with Wallace, the lead pastor of Connection Church, since Tuesday. His wife reported him missing to authorities after he missed a meeting with someone on Wednesday.

New Mexico Inmate Sues State For Right To Breast-FeedAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A New Mexico inmate who is suing the state prison system because she hasn't been allowed to breast-feed her baby has secured a restraining order allowing her to do so.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Monique Hidalgo filed suit against the Department of Corrections, its officials and two guards on Thursday.

Hidalgo has been in prison since September 2016 after multiple probation violations in a drug case.

The lawsuit states orders from Hidalgo's doctor and her baby's physician team say she should breast-feed her daughter to help her recover from being born addicted to opioids.

Hidalgo gave birth to a girl at the University of New Mexico Hospital on May 22. But when she returned to prison on June 8, she was no longer allowed to breast-feed the infant during routine family visits.

New Mexico Lab Ships Mislabeled Waste Container To ColoradoSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

Correspondence between Los Alamos National Laboratory and New Mexico regulators shows the lab failed to accurately label a drum of liquid waste that was shipped to a Colorado disposal center.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the incident happened last month and involved chemicals used to remove buildup from pipes in a cooling system.

The problem was cited in an email to the New Mexico Environment Department. It marked the second time in recent months that the lab failed to accurately document the pH level of waste sent to Veolia ES Technical Solutions.

Los Alamos spokesman Kevin Roark says the lab believes the lower pH value was immaterial to the disposal process.

The lab has racked up violations for failing to accurately assess and document hazardous waste drum contents.

Evacuees Return Home As El Cajete Fire Mostly ContainedKOB-TV, Associated Press

A fire in northern New Mexico sparked by an abandoned campfire that prompted evacuations has been mostly contained.

KOB-TV reported the El Cajete Fire burned 1,400 acres and was 80 percent contained as of Sunday evening. However, officials told the Santa Fe New Mexican they found more abandoned campfires in the area over the weekend even as firefighters battled the blaze.

The fire started Thursday near the border of the Santa Fe National Forest and the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

Evacuees have been allowed to return home and NM Highway 4 has been reopened, but motorists should expect delays.

New Mexico's request for funding to help with the fight against the fire was granted by the federal government.

Gov. Susana Martinez announced the federal assistance Friday, saying the money will help cover the costs of emergency protective measures and firefighting activities.

Forest officials have imposed restrictions that prohibit building campfires or using charcoal, coal or wood stoves expect in developed campsites where grills are provided.

The restrictions cover the entire Jemez Ranger District and other parts of the Santa Fe National Forest.

Police: Mother Dies Following Shooting Rampage In New MexicoAssociated Press

Authorities say the mother of a man who went on a shooting rampage in New Mexico died several hours after being taken off life support, bringing the number of deaths to five.

District Attorney Marco Serna and Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan confirmed the death late Friday of 49-year-old Maria "Brenda" Gallegos.

Serna initially reported her death after she was removed from life support, leading authorities to believe she had died.

But he said later she remained in critical condition for some time before dying.

Twenty-one-year-old Damian Herrera is accused of fatally shooting his stepfather and brother before turning the gun on his mother on Thursday.

Authorities have said he then traveled 200 miles across New Mexico and fatally shot two more people before he was arrested.