0% Chance Of Rain In Albuquerque

I posted a screen capture of The Weather Channel’s iOS app on my flicker account showing the 0% chance of rain for the next week. That was a few days ago and there is still 0% chance of rain for the next week.

The City of Albuquerque has Imposed Open-Space Fire Restrictions.

Albuquerque Fire Chief James Breen, along with Mayor Richard J. Berry and Public Safety Director Darren White announced Stage II Fire Restrictions in the Open Space Areas effective June 14, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

Extreme Fire Danger

Stage II Fire Restrictions are being implemented due to the extreme fire danger in Open Space Areas located within the municipal boundaries of the City of Albuquerque.

The decision to implement greater fire restrictions is based on current fire indices, fire behavior predictions, current and expected weather conditions, drought indexes, human factors, and ignition factors. Additionally, there is high fire activity throughout the State of New Mexico and outside agency resources to assist with the suppression of new wildland fires is limited.

Stage II Restrictions intensifies the restrictions from Stage I by focusing on activities that, although normally managed under permit or contract, have a relatively high risk of causing a fire.


Stage II Fire Restrictions prohibit the following activities in Open Space Areas:

  1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, open flame, campfire or stove fire Smoking
  2. Possessing, discharging or using any kind of fireworks or other pyrotechnic device
  3. Possessing or using a motor vehicle off any publicly designated roadways, except when parking in developed parking lots or at developed trailheads
  4. Operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine
  5. Operating any piece of spark-emitting equipment
  6. Operating any internal or external combustion engine
  7. Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame
  8. Camping or overnight stay

Open Space Areas

Open Space areas include:

  • Lands zoned or designated as open space in the City’s adopted Plan for Major Public Open Space and acquired by the City
  • Bosque or Bosque Areas
  • Rio Grande State Park
  • Wildlands Areas and wildlands and urban interface areas
  • Major named arroyos
  • Lined or unlined drain-ways
  • Retention dams and retention pond areas and abutting rights-of-way or easements which have been publicly acquired
  • Any open lands for which the City has assumed control or management responsibility by lease, easement, or legal agreement.

As Betty at Maximum Verbosity says, Smoke is the new rain here.

Wallow Fire Is 10% Contained

6-4-11 Hwy180/US191 32

According to InciWeb:

The fire is 10% contained. Currently the fire is not threatening Eagar and Springerville area. On the eastern side of the fire, fire behavior was moderate. Today’s activities include mop-up and hazard tree removal in the Alpine, Nutrioso, and Tal Wi Wi areas. Mop-up is underway in the South Fork area following the burnout operation conducted last night. Burnout operations were completed along FR 220 south to US 180, northwest of Luna, NM.

Also see the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests’ photostream on flickr.

Less Water In The Southwest

Drought Monitor maps

I should leave this sort of thing to John Fleck, but I found an article at The Christian Science Monitor titled
The new water wars? Study shows broad decline in Rockies snowpack“. When I think of climate change I often think that the Earth will be fine, it’s our way of life that will be impacted.

While the shrinking snowpack in the 20th and early 21st centuries is not unprecedented from a climate-history standpoint, at no time in the past 800 years have so many people relied so heavily on these winter snows for their fresh water. The rivers and the drainage basins that feed them provide as much as 80 percent of the water used for irrigation, power generation, and other purposes by some 70 million people, according to the study.

Meanwhile most of the State of New Mexico continues to be in a drought.

Motorola's 52nd Street Plant Still A Superfund Site

My parents didn’t work at the 52nd street Motorola plant (now a superfund site), built in 1956 near 48th Street and McDowell Road in Pheonix, Az but I think my Grandfather did. The EPA is still testing near the site nearly 30 year later.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials told about 15 residents at a community meeting Wednesday that their preliminary test results from some spots in the Lindon Park neighborhood, near 48th Street and McDowell Road, show some soil samples had unsafe levels of two industrial cleaning chemicals.

The chemicals were used at the former Motorola plant years ago to clean machinery and other equipment.

EPA scientists said the risk to residents’ health probably was small, but they believe they need to test for chemicals inside some homes to be sure.

“The kinds of soil vapor or the soil gas concentrations that we’re seeing do not lead us to believe that you would have the kinds of levels or exposure that would cause extreme health effects,” said Gerald Hiatt, an EPA toxicologist. “We may have some exposures inside homes that are high enough to create a (health) risk over long-term exposure, but I would be very, very surprised if we saw exposures that would create acute health effects.”

The neighborhood is the focus of an EPA Superfund monitoring and cleanup effort that has been under way for more than 20 years.

Apparently there was chemical tank that leaked into the soil in the 1980. It doesn’t surprise me from what I heard from my parents and what I saw working at electronic companies in the early 1990’s in Arizona. Companies were not that concerned about such safety issues.

Motorola's 52nd Street PlantThe factory is now owned by On Semiconductor. It’s been remodeled and I couldn’t find any pictures of what the factory originally looked like except one on the semiconductor Museum’s page.

Wallow Fire Progression

Wallow Fire Progress

AZCentral has a Wallow Fire Timeline which shows an interactive map of the Wallow Fire progression. It is about to cross the New Mexico border and US 60.

In May I drove from Arizona to New Mexico via US 60. I couldn’t help but think that the whole place was going to burn down, it was dry everywhere.

US 60 32

US 60 24

Meanwhile the smoke continues to roll in every evening into the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho areas.

Wallow fire smoke as seen in Rio Rancho, NM

It doesn’t look like there is any end to this fire and I can’t image how they are going to get it under control. It is 0 percent contained.

Intel's Chandler Plant Has An Explosion

Reuters “Blast at Intel microchip plant injures 7

The blast of undetermined origin occurred shortly after 2 p.m. local time at one of two large Intel campuses in Chandler, Arizona, just southeast of the state capital, said Chandler Fire Department Battalion Chief Brad Miller

AZCentral “Intel workers hurt as substance ignites at Chandler plant

Seven Intel employees were injured Tuesday afternoon when a substance ignited in a chemical-storage room at the company’s Ocotillo campus, Chandler Fire Chief Jeff Clark said.

“It was not an explosion as much as an ignition of something; we do not know what,” Clark said.

Phoenix Business Journal “Intel plant explosion in Chandler injures 7

Chandler Fire Department spokesman Brad Miller said the department responded to a call shortly after 2 p.m. about an explosion in a support room for the Fab 22 facility at 4500 S. Dobson Road in Chandler.

Miller said one victim was transported immediately to Maricopa Medical Center with severe burns. Three others were transported to Chandler Regional Hospital with less severe injuries. Three others were treated and released on site. None of the injuries are considered to be life-threatening.

Several hundred workers from Fab 22 and neighboring Fab 32 were evacuated after the explosion, but as of 3:30 p.m., firefighters had safely cleared the building. The Chandler Fire Department now is assessing if there is any continued risk in the cleanup process.

Production has stopped at Fabs 22 and 32, but continues at the nearby Fab 12.

Arizona's Wallow Fire In Albuquerque

Sandias Covered In Smoke From The Wallo Fire In Az

The view of the Sandia Mountains from my front window the last few days has been obscured by smoke from the Wallow fire near the New Mexico border in Alpine, Arizona. This fire is affecting the Albuquerque area by creating a cloud of smoke which besides the smell has caused some ash to fall from the sky.

Normally I have a clear view of the Sandias except when we have a storm.

This one is over

It’s bad enough that the last two nights I have had to turn off the cooler because it was filling the house with the smell of forest fire.

This is going to be a bad year for fires unless we get some rain, which the Albuquerque area hasn’t received a significant rain storm since early this year.

The Arizona Republic as a good FAQ on the Wallow Fire and An image from the NOAA shows the smoke plume (I don’t know if the NOAA has a direct source to this image).

Wallo Fire Smoke NOAA

Update 06/07/2011: The trend for the last few days is the smoke goes away during the day and settles back in during the evening. It feels like a nuclear winter. Here are a few pictures I took from the office building last night, note the red dot which is the sun.

Wallow fire smoke as seen in Rio Rancho, NM

Wallow Fire smoke as seen in Rio Rancho, NM

While the smoke here in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque is bad, it’s not nearly as bad as for those who actually live where the fire is. The local paper The White Mountain Independent has information about all of the evacuations in the area.

Latest map from the NOAA.