Ryan Heinsius

At a dedication ceremony last night, Flagstaff became the first Arizona city to raise the LGBT rainbow flag in front of its city hall. It was an acknowledgement of the 20th anniversary of Flagstaff’s pride celebration, and also a candlelight vigil for the 49 people killed at an Orlando nightclub earlier this month. The mood was somber as community members read the names and ages of each victim. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.


Officials say illegal drones are hampering efforts to contain a wildfire threatening communities in eastern Arizona.

Navajo County spokesman Adam Wolfe said Thursday that drone operators have been flying near the roughly 70-square-mile blaze. Airspace over the fire, which is 2 ½ miles north of the Cedar Creek community, is under a temporary flight restriction.

Phoenix police have arrested four people for blocking parts of a major downtown road at a protest outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Phoenix.

Police moved the crowd off the street at around 12:30 p.m., but four protesters remained including two who chained themselves to ladders.

Activists cheered as handcuffed protesters were placed into squad cars and then calmly dispersed shortly after.

KNAU/Melissa Sevigny

Wildland firefighters use every strategy they can to stop forest fires from causing catastrophic destruction. Increasingly, crews across the country are relying on high-tech equipment, like infrared cameras, iPads and satellite imagery. But, machines can't replace humans completely. In this 2-part story, we hear from some of the people who choreograph fighting a fire. 


Last year, a French couple died while trying to make sure their 9-year-old son had enough water on a broiling summertime outing at a New Mexico national park.

This past weekend, two Germans visiting Arizona for a conference died after taking a hike in perilous, record-breaking heat.

The U.S. Southwest has seen its share of heat-related visitor deaths.

Amid another staggering heatwave, local governments and businesses in the region are increasing their efforts to alert tourists when summer rolls in and safe outdoor conditions roll out.

Arizona Department of Economic Security officials say a state lawmaker has been indicted on felony fraud and other charges for lying on her application for food stamps.

The charges of fraud, theft and unlawful use of food stamps against Rep. Cecilia Velasquez were announced Wednesday by DES Director Tim Jeffries.

The indictment issued by the state grand jury was unsealed Monday. Velasquez is set to appear in court on July 5.

The 42-year-old Litchfield Park Democrat didn't immediately return calls to her cellphone seeking comment.

Firefighters are working to secure the eastern flank of a wildfire that still threatens some communities in eastern Arizona.

Officials said Wednesday the fire that began in June 15 has burned almost 67 square miles – or more than 42,802 acres – and remains 24 percent contained.

The blaze is about 2 ½ miles north of Cedar Creek where 300 people live.

More than 15,000 people in Pinetop-Lakeside and Show Low, along with others in the surrounding communities, remain under pre-evacuation notice.

BBC

The arid Southwest is ideal for preserving plant and animal remains. It's a living laboratory for scientists. At the Ancient DNA Lab at Northern Arizona University, wildlife geneticist Faith Walker is using tiny pieces of mummified biological material to learn more about life on Earth thousands of years ago.


U.S. National Park Service

Scientists have found evidence of what could be the earliest known use of fire by humans in North America. A scientist at Northern Arizona University is part of the team that sampled ancient charcoal on the Channel Islands, off the coast of southern California.


Authorities are resuming the search inside Grand Canyon National Park for a Florida man who has been missing since Saturday.

Park officials say several ground teams and a National Park Service helicopter are joining in the search Tuesday for 52-year-old Floyd E. Roberts III.

Searchers are focusing on an area that has rugged landscape and is covered in thick brush.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning through Wednesday.

Pages

The latest news & stories from NPR

Scott Thybony’s Canyon Commentaries enhance our understanding of the Southwest region through vibrant storytelling and thoughtful reflection. SCOTT'S RECENT POSTS...