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Last updated 5:50PM ET
September 20, 2018
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First News: No low level air force training flights over northern NM for the time being. (listen)
(KSFR) - The Air Force has decided to put on hold its plan for low-level training flights over northern New Mexico and parts of Colorado. The plan would have allowed aircraft to fly as low as 300 feet above the ground as many as three times a night. The proposal had drawn heavy criticism from residents who were concerned about noise and safety. Cannon Air Fore Base officials say they could come back with a new proposal, but not before next year.

Two fires burning nearby are closer to being extinguished as firefighters have made significant progress. The 622 acre lightning-sparked Bear Springs Fire is at 90% containment and the Colorado Peak Fire at 245 acres is at 80%. Down south in the Gila region, our state's largest wildfire ever has charred 267,000 acres. Firefighters have been successful in suppressing the rate of growth over the past few days. Still, the nation's largest currently active blaze is said to be just 30% contained. Personnel have been reduced to under 900, down from a high of more than 1200. Governor Susana Martinez visits the area this morning.

Beginning today, state agencies impose new restrictions on fireworks, smoking, campfires, and open-burning in 21 western and central New Mexico counties, including Santa Fe. The restrictions apply to public lands not under city, federal, or tribal control. A map of affected counties and details of the restrictions and exceptions can be found at n-m-forestry--dot--com.

New Mexico's fleet of state-owned aircraft has now shrunk to three. The latest plane to be sold is a two-engine turboprop that a Santa Fe man bought for nearly $600,000. Gov. Martinez made an issue during her campaign of what she called the state's extravagance in owning eight aircraft. Five of those have now been sold, including a jet. The remaining fleet consists of a state police helicopter and fixed wing Cessna, and a Beechcraft King Air.

Today at 2PM, Santa Fe Mayor David Coss flips the switch for an array of 386 solar electric panels atop the Community Convention Center. The array will provide more than 10 percent of the facility's electric use with the city purchasing power at a fixed price for the next 20 years. The panels were made in state by Albuquerque-based Schott Solar.

Meanwhile, it's been announced that the Buckman Direct Diversion, responsible for water delivery to Santa Fe City and County, plans to add more solar photovoltaic panels to its operation. Doubling the amount of solar power used to pump water would mean that about 30% of the system's electrical needs will be fueled by sunlight. Today's New Mexican says that up to $5 million to pay for the new installation will come from the US Environmental Protection Agency. Once online, the new solar panel array could halve the current cost of electricity used by Buckman's booster station.

The New Mexico Centennial Pony Express ride will conclude today in Santa Fe. The 14-day event began back on May 26th with relay riders collecting ceremonial mail along a 365-mile route originating in Hobbs. They're expected to arrive on the Plaza at noon where they'll turn the mail over to US Postal officials for delivery.

Weather for Santa Fe - sunny and dry through Monday with highs in the mid 80s. A slight chance for isolated showers arrives Monday night and may linger into the middle of next week.
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