Associated Press

Warm, windy weather is raising the fire danger in the Mountain West.

Red flag warnings were in effect Thursday for much of western Colorado and the San Luis Valley as well as parts of Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.

In western Colorado, the National Weather Service said wind gusts could reach up to 35 mph before the threat is expected to subside Friday afternoon. Humidities are also expected to drop below 15 percent there, making it easier for fires to spread.

The agency warns that simple burns on farms or ranches could easily get out of control.

A bill pending in the state Senate and pushed by the mining industry would shield cases of environmental contamination from civil lawsuits and penalties according to backers.

The Arizona Republic reports the bill headed for a final Senate vote Monday would allow companies to keep those cases secret. Supporters say it would be an incentive for corporations to voluntarily clean up ground and water contamination they discover on their properties.

A former CIA employee has announced her candidacy for Arizona's newly-drawn 9th Congressional District.

Leah Campos Schandlbauer said Monday that she's a conservative Republican and will ground her campaign in an unreserved defense of free markets and limited government.

Campos Schandlbauer is a mother of four. She recently resigned her job as operations officer in the Central Intelligence Agency, where she worked for more than a decade.

The 9th District includes Tempe and parts of Phoenix and Mesa.

Pete Souza

Gov. Jan Brewer says part of pending Arizona legislation on insurance coverage for birth control drugs could make it uncomfortable for women using contraception for reasons over than avoiding pregnancy.

The bill would allow all employers with religious and moral objections to birth control to refuse to provide coverage for that purpose through their health plans. Those employers still would have to provide coverage for contraception for other medical reasons but could make women seeking reimbursements explain why they need it.

The president of the union representing striking Phoenix bus drivers says major progress has been made in negotiations with their employer.

Union president Bob Bean told The Associated Press that he is hoping a final deal can be reached Wednesday to end the strike that began Saturday.

If a deal is reached, about 640 drivers for Veolia Transportation Services could vote on the contract Thursday.

Bean says the two sides have yet to discuss the contract with 310 striking Tempe drivers.

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