KNAU and Arizona News

KNAU and Arizona News
2:00 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

No Fire Restrictions On Forests This Holiday Weekend

A sign urges visitors to fully extinguish campfires in the Coconino National Forest.
Credit Julia Shumway/Cronkite News Service

For the first time since 2010, campfires will be allowed on Memorial Day weekend on the region’s national forests. As Arizona Public Radio’s Aaron Granillo reports, steady rainfall during the past few month means there are no fire restrictions in effect.

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KNAU and Arizona News
4:22 am
Fri May 22, 2015

The Slide Fire: 1 Year Later - Ecological Recovery Of The Burn Area

Map of the Slide Fire burn area.
Credit Arizona Highways

Every day this week, we've been hearing from some of the people closest to last year's Slide Fire in Oak Creek Canyon. We've checked in with investigators, evacuees, emergency responders and firefighters. And today, we hear from two fire scientists about the ecological recovery of the burn area. We start with Rory Steinke, Watershed Manager for the Coconino National Forest and leader of the Burn Area Emergency Response Team.

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KNAU and Arizona News
4:08 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Officials Kill Troubled Mexican Gray Wolf

An endangered Mexican gray wolf. About 110 of the federally protected animals make up the experimental population in eastern Arizona and New Mexico.
Credit endangeredwolfcenter.org

An endangered Mexican gray wolf has been shot and killed by wildlife officials in western New Mexico. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the federally protected animal had been involved in so-called “nuisance behavior.” 

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KNAU and Arizona News
8:23 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Deschene Lands Job At Department Of Energy

Chris Deschene
Credit AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

A former Navajo Nation presidential candidate who was disqualified over a language fluency requirement has landed a job with the U.S. Department of Energy.

The agency announced this week that Chris Deschene is the new director of its Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs.

Department director Ernest Moniz says Deschene has cultivated relationships with tribes and has extensive experience in business and energy development, and natural resources.

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KNAU and Arizona News
8:22 am
Thu May 21, 2015

The Slide Fire: 1 Year later - The Problem With Cell Phones

Our Slide Fire series continues today with a look at how cell phones worked - and DIDN'T work in Oak Creek Canyon during the fire. Thousands of visitors drive through the scenic switchbacks every day. But once they descend below the canyon's rim, cell phones generally become useless. In an emergency situation, there's no 911 access for several miles. As KJZZ's Laurel Morales reports, that was a big problem when the Slide Fire broke out.

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KNAU and Arizona News
8:14 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Kingman Passes Ban On Smoking In Cars With Kids Present

Kingman drivers will have to put out their cigarettes if they have kids in the car under a new smoking ban that takes effect this summer.

The Kingman Daily Miner reports councilmembers narrowly approved the ban with a 4-3 vote Tuesday, making it a secondary offense to smoke in a car with people under the age of 18 present.

E-cigarettes are also covered under the ban. Retailers from Phoenix asked the council during the meeting to consider exempting vapor products.

The ban goes into effect June 18.

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KNAU and Arizona News
4:17 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Brain Food: How The Slide Fire Changed Community Preparedness

Robert Rowley, director of the Coconino County Department of Emergency Management, points to the area in Oak Creek Canyon where thousands of firefighters battled the blaze
Credit KNAU/Bonnie Stevens

KNAU's Slide Fire series continues with a special installment of Brain Food. In early May of 2014, Coconino County emergency responders practiced a community disaster exercise. At the time, none of the participants knew just how soon they'd have to use it in "real time".

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KNAU and Arizona News
3:32 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Grand Canyon Airport Upgrades Raise Concern of Conservation Groups

The public comment period for the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Five-Year Plan ends next week. It includes an upgrade to the state-owned Grand Canyon National Park Airport. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, conservationists have raised concerns about the project’s potential effects on the Canyon.

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KNAU and Arizona News
8:39 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Ex-Navajo Nation Lawmakers Plead No Contest In Criminal Case

Two former Navajo Nation lawmakers have pleaded no contest in a criminal case, avoiding a trial on charges that they used their positions to enrich their families financially.

Jack Colorado and Harry Clark signed plea agreements with prosecutors Monday, the same day jury selection was to begin.

The men entered pleas to a single count each of eroding Navajos' confidence in the integrity of their government — the lessor offense of conspiracy to commit bribery. Prosecutors will drop six counts of bribery against each of the men after sentencing, which hasn't been set.

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KNAU and Arizona News
5:00 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Slide Fire: 1 Year Later... Fighting the Blaze

Fire fighting personnel observe smoke from the Slide Fire from the Oak Creek Overlook in May 2014. Eventually, more than 1,000 people were on hand to fight the fire which grew to more than 21,000 acres.
Credit USFS

When fighting the Slide Fire one year ago, crews had to negotiate some of the most challenging terrain in the Southwest along with extremely dry and windy conditions. The 21,000-acre fire became the largest in the history of the Coconino National Forest, and more than a thousand personnel were called in to fight it. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius recently spoke with Coconino National Forest Fire Staff Officer Don Muise about how what officials and firefighters approached battling the blaze and what they took away from the experience.

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