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Around Northern New Mexico

Cochiti Reopening Set Back a Week

The reopening of Cochiti Lake has been postponed until at least next week.

The lake, campgrounds and other public facilities have been closed since June 29 because of the Las Conchas Fire. The area was scheduled to reopen this week, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it has pushed that back to July 20.

Many of the lake’s facilities have been used to house and feed firefighters battling the massive Las Conches blaze. At a peak, 16 helicopters were based in the area and were using water from Cochiti Lake to fight the fire. Also, numerous “spotter planes” used Tetilla Road as a runway.

People with reservations for campsites should contact the National Recreation Reservation Service for refunds.

Santa Clara Starts Fire Rehab Fund

Santa Clara Pueblo has set up a fund, in partnership with the New Mexico Community Foundation (NMCF), to support the costs of fire rehabilitation and flooding mitigation efforts in Santa Clara Canyon in the wake of the Las Conchas Fire.

More than 16,600 acres, some 80 percent of pueblo land, burned in the fire. The pueblo is working to set up barriers to protect vulnerable areas from flooding that can result from rain on denuded land. The Santa Clara Pueblo Fund would also provide assistance with food, water, shovels, and other needs.

It is intended to help the pueblo address both the known and unforeseeable impacts from the Las Conchas Fire.

Jenny Parks, NMCF president and CEO, said in a news release that NMCF has already directed $10,000 in fire relief funding to Santa Clara Pueblo.

The pueblo’s Puye Cliff Dwellings have been closed because of the fire, and business has been down in pueblo arts and crafts sales and in visits to the tribe’s nearby hotel and casino, according to Santa Clara officials.

For more information on the Santa Clara Pueblo Fund, contact Libby Madden, NMCF director of development, at 505-270-9624 or

To make a gift to the Santa Clara Pueblo Fund, visit or contact the New Mexico Community Foundation Albuquerque office at 505-820-6860.

Book Reading, Signing July 30

After the Cerro Grande Fire, ecologist Terry Foxx wrote a children’s book called “The Forest and the Fire” that was published by the Los Alamos Historical Society.

Now, with the Las Conchas Fire exposing a new generation to the fear and uncertainty of forest fires, the society and the Pajarito Environmental Education Center are sponsoring a reading and book signing on July 30. It will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at PEEC, 3540 Orange St. In addition to the reading and book-signing, hands-on ecology activities will be offered for children, and a discussion of forest fire and recovery for adults.

16 Counties Added To Drought List

Sixteen more northern and central New Mexico counties have been declared federal disaster areas due to severe drought, including Rio Arriba, Taos, San Miguel, Colfax, Mora and Santa Fe.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared more than a dozen other counties drought disaster areas. Now, all New Mexico counties are eligible for assistance.

The disaster designation makes farm operators eligible for assistance from the Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met. That includes emergency loans and revenue assistance payments. Farmers have eight months to apply for emergency loan assistance.

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