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Monday, June 20, 2011

Bilderberg Conference 2011: Secret Attendees, Protesters: WHO ARE THE BILDERBERGS ? Just a Stinking Think Tank 2011 ? (VIDEO Exposing Google Chief Schmidt))

Video Exposing Google Chief Schmidt Censored by You Tube

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
June 20, 2011


Google-owned You Tube has sensationally censored a video clip showing Eric Schmidt at the 2011 Bilderberg Group conference, by removing the “honors” associated with the Alex Jones Channel and preventing the clip from going viral, while You Tube has also threatened to terminate the account altogether after baseless accusations of racism were made against an Obama Joker video for the second time.
Google chief Eric Schmidt betrayed his notorious disregard for online privacy in 2009 when he told CNBC, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
Maybe Schmidt should take his own advice, because he’s obviously keen to prevent the world from finding out about his 2011 attendance of the Bilderberg conference and how he discussed new ways to police the Internet with other technology moguls from the likes of Facebook and Microsoft.
After our Bilderberg confrontation video was linked at the mighty Drudge Report as well as the London Guardian, it shot to the top of You Tube’s rankings and appeared on the front page, achieving over 100,000 views in a matter of hours. However, right as the clip was set to go viral and achieve millions of views, You Tube unceremoniously deleted all of the “honors” associated with the Alex Jones Channel. This immediately ensured that the video was buried and therefore prevented millions more people from seeing Schmidt being confronted by protesters at the Bilderberg meeting.
READ MORE
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Judge Napolitano Covers Bilderberg

Bilderberg Members Confronted by Protesters Outside Security Perimeter

Angry exchanges between elitists and protesters in unprecedented video footage

Paul Joseph Watson in St. Moritz, Switzerland
Infowars
June 11, 2011
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Video credit Stefan Hans Bauer

Astounding footage has emerged of top Bilderberg members being confronted by protesters as they walked on foot down the mountain road towards the Suvretta Hotel. Bilderberg attendees rarely ever venture outside of hotel grounds which is why this represents such a shocking development.

Bilderbergers seen in the video clip include Peter Mandelson, Google founder Eric Schmidt, Peer Steinbrück, Franco Bernabe, Jacob Wallenberg, and Thomas Enders.

In one of the scenes, a protester explains how he had a conversation with a Bilderberg member who arrogantly told him that Bilderberg were busy "setting their agenda" and that demonstrators shouldn't bother them.

Bilderberger Thomas Enders tells one protester, "don't worry about it," when he complains about Bilderberg's undemocratic foundation.

June 11, 2011

Infowars reporetrs Aaron Dykes and Paul Joseph Watson have received confirmation from an inside source that five other influential people who were not named on the official attendee list are in attendance at the Bilderberg conference 2011.

Those names are...

Anders Rasmussen -- current Secretary General of NATO

Angela Merkel -- German Chancellor

Jose Luis Zapatero -- Spanish Prim Minister

Bill Gates -- Former Microsoft CEO, Head of the Gates Foundation

Robert Gates -- Serving US Secretary of Defense

Aaron breaks down how Robert Gates' attendance is therefore a violation of the Logan Act.

Paul Joseph Watson explains more about Bilderberg treason


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Six Franklin County Drug Dealers Arrested After Narcotics Undercover Sting

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Six individuals were taken into custody in an undercover narcotics sting operation last Friday.
According to a Franklin County Narcotics Undercover Officer who will remain unnamed, this investigation has been ongoing for about two years.
The undercover officer bought several kinds of narcotics including meth, crack, mushrooms, MSM and marijuana from several local drug dealers in efforts to build evidence against them.
Narcotics officers then rounded up the individuals at their respective residences in an operation that lasted from eleven Friday morning until five o'clock Friday evening. 

The following individuals have all been taken into custody and charged with the distribution of narcotics.
24-year-old Benjamin Abela of Washington, 39-year-old Stephanie Eads of Washington, 22-year-old Joseph Kessler of Washington, 46-year-old Diana Kleinhieder of Washington, 46-year-old John Dykhuizen of Washington and 25-year-old Kyle West of Sullivan were all booked on Friday.
22-year-old Kasey K. Krekel of Union was charged with drug distribution as well; however, was already in a corrections facility.

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Several Levees in Northern Missouri Breached

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Levees in northern Missouri breached, overtopped
By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH,
Associated Press
June 20, 2011
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Several levees in northern Missouri were failing Sunday to hold back the surge of water being released from upstream dams.
Authorities said water - some of it from recent rain - began pouring over levees Saturday night and Sunday morning in Holt and Atchison counties, flooding farmland and numerous homes and cabins.
A hole in the side of a Holt County levee continued to grow Sunday, deluging the state park and recreational area of Big Lake, 78 miles north of Kansas City.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Kevin Wingert said engineers would monitor the overtopping to try to determine how much of an effect it will have on water flows downstream. "It's too early to say what the full impact will be on it," he said.
Meanwhile, the Nebraska Public Power District issued a flooding alert Sunday for its nuclear power plant in southeast Nebraska as the Missouri River continues to rise.
Mark Becker, a spokesman for the Columbus, Neb.-based utility, said the "notification of unusual event" sent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was expected as the river swells above record levels. The declaration is the least serious of four emergency notifications established by the federal commission.
The plant was operating Sunday at full capacity, and there was no threat to plant employees or to the public, Becker said.
In Missouri, presiding Holt County commissioner Mark Sitherwood said U.S. 159 is closed south of Big Lake because water is pouring over the road, and most of the west side of the community is underwater.
"It's going through in one place that we know of and overtopped in numerous places and there is seepage everywhere," Sitherwood said.
He said most people evacuated well in advance of the flooding. Those who stayed were told Saturday night that water was flowing into the area. A few people live in cabins that have been built up and decided to stay, Sitherwood said.
"Everyone up here knows the routine," he said.
The Big Lake area, where water has been high for the past couple weeks, has experienced major flooding in three of the last five years. But Sitherwood said this year promises to be much worse following weeks of high flows and increasing releases from the main stem dams in Montana and the Dakotas.
"I know they wouldn't admit it, but this is a manmade event," said Sitherwood, echoing a sentiment common in the area that the Army Corps of Engineers is mismanaging the Missouri River. "Nobody is going to tell me it isn't. It is probably going to be historical."
The commissioner said his own home is at risk. "Thank you Corps of Engineers," he said.
The corps has said unusually heavy rains, not mismanagement, are to blame.
"What we are dealing with is a massive weather system that put a lot of precipitation in the system particularly in Montana and northern Wyoming in the month of May," Wingert said. "The end result is that water has to go somewhere."
In neighboring Atchison County, there was a nearly steady flow of water over a half-mile stretch of a levee near U.S. 136 and overtopping at various points to the north that area, said Mark Manchester, deputy director of emergency management for the county. He said the water was flooding several thousand acres of farmland, but so far no homes had been inundated since a breach this past Monday caused about a dozen of the homes to take on water.
Manchester said the river level has reached 44.6 feet, the highest on record and about 4 to 5 inches higher than 1993 flooding levels. He said minor flooding starts at 33 feet and major flooding at 43 feet.
He said residents in the area had already evacuated their homes, and officials who operate the levee went up in a helicopter and saw several "pretty good size holes starting to form."
The officials are predicating another breach, which could displace up to 200 more people.
"That would be worse case scenario," he said. "The information we are getting from the corps is that it's possible."

Missouri River Joint Information Conference Call Report - June 18



The Missouri River Joint Information Center held a conference call June 18 from the Division offices in Omaha, Neb. Tom O'Hara, at the Missouri River Joint Information Center, hosted the call. The following is information from the call:

Opening remarks:

The public is encouraged to call the Joint Information Center at (877) 214-9110 or visit its website, MRJIC@USACE.ARMY.MIL, to contact the information center with questions or concerns.
The Joint Information Center is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Phone calls are forwarded during nonworking hours and will be answered 24/7. The Joint Information Center responded to 17 media requests for Kansas City and Omaha June 18.
Gen. John McMahon said the Corps is monitoring weather carefully and closely. He has serious concerns with levees along the River. There were 3 breaches/over-toppings today. General McMahon sees many challenges ahead.
***LEVEE BREACH***
The Holt County 10 Levee has breached. This levee is located west of Big Lake, Mo., and is north and across the river from Rulo, Neb. This breach was due to water overtopping the levee. The local sponsor plans to cut the downstream end of the levee to allow water to flow through the river bottom to reduce damage in the levee's area of protection.
***LEVEES OVERTOPPING***
Federal Levee L-550 near river mile 535.5 north of Highway 136 in Atchison County in the Rock Port, Mo., area is overtopping. The local sponsor has determined the overtopping is too severe for any flood fighting activities to protect this levee.
Federal Levee R-548 across the river from L-550 is overtopping. River levels increased approximately 2 feet from 5:30 a.m. June 17 to 5:30 a.m. the morning of June 18 at the Brownsville gauge.
Current Levee Breaches:
L-575 Near Hamburg, Iowa
Union Township, Near Craig, Missouri
Holt County #10, Big Lake, Missouri
Current Levee Overtoppings:
L-550 Near Rock Port, Missouri
Current Weather Conditions"
It will be a very rainy next three to four days throughout the basin. Strong storms will impact the central states Sunday, June 19, through Wednesday, June 22. These storms will move from eastern Montana and eastern Wyoming to much of the central northern plains and across to the Mississippi Valley region. Extensive rains with amounts greater than 1 inch will move from Montana and the Dakotas to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Expect 2 inches to 4 inches of rainfall over much of South Dakota and northern Nebraska. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 4 inches may be seen in the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota. Some areas in the basin may see as much as 5" to 6" of rainfall. This will be a strong system that is widespread and will have a big impact on the Missouri River Basin. These are cool season storms with summertime moisture, which will bring wide spread heavy rainfall. This is not a typical summertime storm and will produce unusually heavy rainfall. The basin should get a break from the rainfall beginning late Wednesday through Friday, which should be dry. Longer term should see the weather return to more summertime like patterns with more scattered type storms.
Water Release and Reservoir Information:
The Reservoir Control Center will adjust releases with ever changing conditions. Daily planned releases will be posted each day on the Division website around 4-4:30 each day.
Due to the continuing wet weather pattern across the upper basin, releases from Oahe and Big Bend has been increased to 160,000 cfs to move more water into Fort Randall. Weather is continuing to deteriorate in the upper basin and the reservoir control center has very little flexibility remaining. Reservoir levels are continuing to rise within the system. If weather continues to deteriorate the Corps will lose its ability to manage intra-system adjustments and may have to increase releases from Fort Randall and Gavins Point. There are no plans to increase releases from Gavins Point at this time. The Reservoir Control Center is watching weather and rainfall closely and will know more once the current storms pass through the system. Rainfall over the next few days will determine if releases from the reservoirs need to change.
Current plans for the reservoirs are as follows:
Fort Peck 65,000cfs June 18 and then to 60,000 cfs on Monday
Garrison 150,000 cfs June 18 and hold
Oahe 160,000 cfs June 18 and hold
Big Bend 160,000 cfs June 18 and hold
Randall 143,000 cfs June 18, then to 148,000 cfs by mid next week depending on the Gavins Point pool
Gavins Point 150,000 cfs June and hold.
Peak Releases are expected to stay high well into August.
Releases are based on conditions on the ground and subject to change.
Snow Pack Update:
The snow above Fort Peck peaked at 141 percent of normal and is now down to 64 percent of normal. The snow in the reach between Fort Peck and Garrison (primarily the Yellowstone basin) peaked at 136 percent and is now down to 62 percent. The snow in the North Plate basin pecked at 150 percent of normal and is currently down to 54 percent and the snow pack in the South Platte Basin peaked at 150 percent of normal and is down to 42 percent of normal.
Department of Transportation Update:
Interstate I-29 is closed from Mile Post 110 in Missouri north to Mile Post 10 in Iowa. Iowa DOT may close an additional 10 miles north to Mile marker 20 in the next few days. I-29 is also closed from Mile markers 55 to 71 beginning near the Council Bluffs/Omaha area and north.
The Global Detour for I-29 is: I-35 North to I-80 west to I-680 to I-29 north of Council Bluffs
In Iowa: Highway 2 crossing the Missouri River is closed.
In Missouri: US Highway 159 in Holt County is closed-This also closes the Bridge to Rulo. US Highway 13 in Atchison County is Closed cutting off access to the Brownsville Bridge.
Nearly all crossing across the Missouri River are closed in Northwestern Missouri. The best detour across the River is US Highway 36 at St. Joseph or bridges in the Kansas City area.
In Nebraska, Highway 2 is closed, Highway 159 at Rulo and US 13 is closed at Brownsville.
High water and roads closures are impacting traffic flow and motorists are encouraged to plan accordingly and drive with care. High water is expected through August so many of these roads will remain closed for an extended period. Currently 40 miles of I-29 are closed.
Omaha District Update:
The Omaha District continues to help build many levee projects and improvements as they continue to be in a full flood fight at several locations within their area of operations.
Water is now up on the Ditch 6 levee protecting Hamburg, Iowa. The water is now at 915 feet and there is approximately 4 feet of freeboard at this time. Teams from the Omaha District are on the ground and in the air monitoring levees. Colonel Ruch reminds local levee sponsors to continue to monitor levees and communicate with the Corps of Engineers to address any problems or concerns. Sponsors should take special note of internal drainages as storms move through the basin. Cities and towns with temporary levees need to watch these levees closely and be ready to pump storm water back over the levee to the river.
Kansas City District Update:
The KC District is providing technical and direct assistance to Missouri River stakeholders at many locations. The Kansas City main area of concern is from Rulo, Neb., to Kansas City.
Tributaries remain in good shape on the lower Missouri River.
The Kansas City District has 3.4 million sandbags on hand, eight pumps and two sandbagging machines. Currently, there is one sandbagging machine operating in St. Joseph, and one in Craig. Contracts are in place for more sandbag machines and pumps, if needed.
The Missouri River is closed to all traffic from River Mile 450 to Gavins Point Dam. There will be a Public Meeting Tuesday evening, June 21, in North Kansas City, Mo., at 5:30 p.m. at the North Kansas City Community Center.
The KC District EOC is Current at Level II, subject to changes based on river conditions.
The KC District is conducting daily recon flights to survey river conditions.
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Digital Books in Missouri: Grandview High School to Pass Out Electronic Tablets

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School district moves to digital books

Grandview officials ready to pass out electronic tablets to high school students

By Kevin Carbery
June 20, 2011
www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals
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The paperless era is ready to begin at Grandview High School.
Well, the nearly paperless era.
With the Grandview School District's recent purchase of 400 electronic tablets for students, teachers, other staff and administrators at Grandview High, district officials hope to eliminate paper usage as much as possible. The Grandview schools complex sits at 11470 Route C in southwestern Jefferson County.
The Grandview Board of Education approved the switch from standard textbooks and paper to electronic tablets at Grandview High at a March meeting. The approval came after completion of a pilot project in the first few months of 2011 that used Haipad Androids, a brand of electronic tablet.
"This is the best way to prepare students for the future," Grandview High Principal Matt Zoph said. "We're now teaching on their level, rather than on our level."
Zoph is entering his first year as the high school principal after having been the school librarian and the district's assistant technology director.
Teachers and other staff have already taken training on how to use electronic tablets in the classroom and will have another workshop on it later.
When the expected 360 students arrive at Grandview High for the start of the new school year Aug. 18, they each will receive an electronic tablet and be instructed how to use it.
"Kids don't need much training," Superintendent Michael Brown said. "The teachers need the training."
The electronic tablets will allow students to read textbook information, write notes and take tests without the necessity of killing trees, Brown said. The goal is to minimize paper use.
"You'll always have a need for paper," he said. "And, there are some students who, for various reasons, do require textbooks."
The district bought 400 Coby Kyros electronic tablets at $160 per unit for $64,000 through CDW, a national electronics supplier. The 20 Haipad Androids the district obtained for the pilot program were returned for credit.
The money may sound alarming to some, Brown said, but district personnel project that the effort actually will save costs in the long run.
He pointed out that the district spends approximately $330 per pupil per year on textbooks alone. With the $160 electronic tablets, the district will be using free or low-cost on-line materials, he said.
Students will have the same responsibility of ownership of the electronic tablets as they have had with textbooks. That means their families will have to pay for lost or damaged units, the superintendent said.
On the plus side, Brown said he could see Grandview officials allowing students to keep their electronic tablets for little cost upon graduation.
The move to electronic tablets at Grandview High is bringing the district a great deal of attention.
Click Here to Read More.

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3 Baby Bald Eagles Play in the Wind LEARNING TO FLY June 20 2011 - Bald Eagle Nest Cam - 3 Juvenile Birds Eaglet Chicks Soon to Be High Flyers VIDEOS

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VIDEO:
3 Baby Bald Eagles Play in the Wind LEARNING TO FLY June 20, 2011

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June 17, 2011 VIDEO
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CLICK HERE to See More Photos & Video:  Bald Eagle Nest Cam 3 Eaglet Chicks April 7th Seven Weeks Later Juveniles




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US Nuclear Reactors Safety Standards Lowered: Aging Plants Get Big Breaks from NRC

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US nuke regulators weaken safety rules

June 20, 2011
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LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) -- Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation's aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.
Time after time, officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have decided that original regulations were too strict, arguing that safety margins could be eased without peril, according to records and interviews.
The result? Rising fears that these accommodations by the NRC are significantly undermining safety - and inching the reactors closer to an accident that could harm the public and jeopardize the future of nuclear power in the United States.
Examples abound. When valves leaked, more leakage was allowed - up to 20 times the original limit. When rampant cracking caused radioactive leaks from steam generator tubing, an easier test of the tubes was devised, so plants could meet standards.
Failed cables. Busted seals. Broken nozzles, clogged screens, cracked concrete, dented containers, corroded metals and rusty underground pipes - all of these and thousands of other problems linked to aging were uncovered in the AP's yearlong investigation. And all of them could escalate dangers in the event of an accident.
Yet despite the many problems linked to aging, not a single official body in government or industry has studied the overall frequency and potential impact on safety of such breakdowns in recent years, even as the NRC has extended the licenses of dozens of reactors.
Industry and government officials defend their actions, and insist that no chances are being taken. But the AP investigation found that with billions of dollars and 19 percent of America's electricity supply at stake, a cozy relationship prevails between the industry and its regulator, the NRC.
Records show a recurring pattern: Reactor parts or systems fall out of compliance with the rules. Studies are conducted by the industry and government, and all agree that existing standards are "unnecessarily conservative."
Regulations are loosened, and the reactors are back in compliance.
"That's what they say for everything, whether that's the case or not," said Demetrios Basdekas, an engineer retired from the NRC. "Every time you turn around, they say `We have all this built-in conservatism.'"
The ongoing crisis at the stricken, decades-old Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility in Japan has focused attention on the safety of plants elsewhere in the world; it prompted the NRC to look at U.S. reactors, and a report is due in July.
But the factor of aging goes far beyond the issues posed by the disaster at Fukushima.
Commercial nuclear reactors in the United States were designed and licensed for 40 years. When the first ones were being built in the 1960s and 1970s, it was expected that they would be replaced with improved models long before those licenses expired.
But that never happened. The 1979 accident at Three Mile Island, massive cost overruns, crushing debt and high interest rates ended new construction proposals for several decades.
Instead, 66 of the 104 operating units have been relicensed for 20 more years, mostly with scant public attention. Renewal applications are under review for 16 other reactors.
By the standards in place when they were built, these reactors are old and getting older. As of today, 82 reactors are more than 25 years old.
The AP found proof that aging reactors have been allowed to run less safely to prolong operations. As equipment has approached or violated safety limits, regulators and reactor operators have loosened or bent the rules.
Last year, the NRC weakened the safety margin for acceptable radiation damage to reactor vessels - for a second time. The standard is based on a measurement known as a reactor vessel's "reference temperature," which predicts when it will become dangerously brittle and vulnerable to failure. Over the years, many plants have violated or come close to violating the standard.
As a result, the minimum standard was relaxed first by raising the reference temperature 50 percent, and then 78 percent above the original - even though a broken vessel could spill its radioactive contents into the environment.
"We've seen the pattern," said nuclear safety scientist Dana Powers, who works for Sandia National Laboratories and also sits on an NRC advisory committee. "They're ... trying to get more and more out of these plants."
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SHARPENING THE PENCIL
The AP collected and analyzed government and industry documents - including some never-before released. The examination looked at both types of reactor designs: pressurized water units that keep radioactivity confined to the reactor building and the less common boiling water types like those at Fukushima, which send radioactive water away from the reactor to drive electricity-generating turbines.
Tens of thousands of pages of government and industry studies were examined, along with test results, inspection reports and regulatory policy statements filed over four decades. Interviews were conducted with scores of managers, regulators, engineers, scientists, whistleblowers, activists, and residents living near the reactors, which are located at 65 sites, mostly in the East and Midwest.
AP reporting teams toured some of the oldest reactors - the unit here at Oyster Creek, near the Atlantic coast 50 miles east of Philadelphia, and two units at Indian Point, 25 miles north of New York City along the Hudson River.
Called "Oyster Creak" by some critics because of its aging problems, this boiling water reactor began running in 1969 and ranks as the country's oldest operating commercial nuclear power plant. Its license was extended in 2009 until 2029, though utility officials announced in December that they'll shut the reactor 10 years earlier rather than build state-ordered cooling towers. Applications to extend the lives of pressurized water units 2 and 3 at Indian Point, each more than 36 years old, are under review by the NRC.
Unprompted, several nuclear engineers and former regulators used nearly identical terminology to describe how industry and government research has frequently justified loosening safety standards to keep aging reactors within operating rules. They call the approach "sharpening the pencil" or "pencil engineering" - the fudging of calculations and assumptions to yield answers that enable plants with deteriorating conditions to remain in compliance.
"Many utilities are doing that sort of thing," said engineer Richard T. Lahey Jr., who used to design nuclear safety systems for General Electric Co., which makes boiling water reactors. "I think we need nuclear power, but we can't compromise on safety. I think the vulnerability is on these older plants."
Added Paul Blanch, an engineer who left the industry over safety issues but later returned to work on solving them: "It's a philosophical position that (federal regulators) take that's driven by the industry and by the economics: What do we need to do to let those plants continue to operate? They somehow sharpen their pencil to either modify their interpretation of the regulations, or they modify their assumptions in the risk assessment."
In public pronouncements, industry and government say aging is well under control. "I see an effort on the part of this agency to always make sure that we're doing the right things for safety. I'm not sure that I see a pattern of staff simply doing things because there's an interest to reduce requirements - that's certainly not the case," NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko said in an interview at agency headquarters in Rockville, Md.
Neil Wilmshurst, director of plant technology for the industry's Electric Power Research Institute, acknowledged that the industry and NRC often collaborate on research that supports rule changes. But he maintained that there's "no kind of misplaced alliance ... to get the right answer."
Yet agency staff, plant operators, and consultants paint a different picture in little-known reports, where evidence of industry-wide problems is striking:
-The AP reviewed 226 preliminary notifications - alerts on emerging safety problems - issued by the NRC since 2005. Wear and tear in the form of clogged lines, cracked parts, leaky seals, rust and other deterioration contributed to at least 26 alerts over the past six years. Other notifications lack detail, but aging also was a probable factor in 113 additional alerts. That would constitute up to 62 percent in all. For example, the 39-year-old Palisades reactor in Michigan shut Jan. 22 when an electrical cable failed, a fuse blew, and a valve stuck shut, expelling steam with low levels of radioactive tritium into the air outside. And a one-inch crack in a valve weld aborted a restart in February at the LaSalle site west of Chicago.
-One 2008 NRC report blamed 70 percent of potentially serious safety problems on "degraded conditions." Some involve human factors, but many stem from equipment wear, including cracked nozzles, loose paint, electrical problems, or offline cooling components.
-Confronted with worn parts that need maintenance, the industry has repeatedly requested - and regulators have often allowed - inspections and repairs to be delayed for months until scheduled refueling outages. Again and again, problems worsened before they were fixed. Postponed inspections inside a steam generator at Indian Point allowed tubing to burst, leading to a radioactive release in 2000. Two years later, cracking was allowed to grow so bad in nozzles on the reactor vessel at the Davis-Besse plant near Toledo, Ohio, that it came within two months of a possible breach, the NRC acknowledged in a report. A hole in the vessel could release radiation into the environment, yet inspections failed to catch the same problem on the replacement vessel head until more nozzles were found to be cracked last year.
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TIME CRUMBLES THINGS
Nuclear plants are fundamentally no more immune to the incremental abuses of time than our cars or homes: Metals grow weak and rusty, concrete crumbles, paint peels, crud accumulates. Big components like 17-story-tall concrete containment buildings or 800-ton reactor vessels are all but impossible to replace. Smaller parts and systems can be swapped, but still pose risks as a result of weak maintenance and lax regulation or hard-to-predict failures. Even when things are fixed or replaced, the same parts or others nearby often fail later.
Even mundane deterioration at a reactor can carry harsh consequences.
For example, peeling paint and debris can be swept toward pumps that circulate cooling water in a reactor accident. A properly functioning containment building is needed to create air pressure that helps clear those pumps. The fact is, a containment building could fail in a severe accident. Yet the NRC has allowed operators to make safety calculations that assume containment buildings will hold.
In a 2009 letter, Mario V. Bonaca, then-chairman of the NRC's Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, warned that this approach represents "a decrease in the safety margin" and makes a fuel-melting accident more likely. At Fukushima, hydrogen explosions blew apart two of six containment buildings, allowing radiation to escape from overheated fuel in storage pools.
Many photos in NRC archives - some released in response to AP requests under the federal Freedom of Information Act - show rust accumulated in a thick crust or paint peeling in long sheets on untended equipment at nuclear plants. Other breakdowns can't be observed or predicted, even with sophisticated analytic methods - especially for buried, hidden or hard-to-reach parts.
Industry and government reports are packed with troubling evidence of unrelenting wear - and repeated regulatory compromises.
Four areas stand out:
BRITTLE VESSELS: For years, operators have rearranged fuel rods to limit gradual radiation damage to the steel vessels protecting the core and to keep them strong enough to meet safety standards.
It hasn't worked well enough.
Even with last year's weakening of the safety margins, engineers and metal scientists say some plants may be forced to close over these concerns before their licenses run out - unless, of course, new compromises with regulations are made. But the stakes are high: A vessel damaged by radiation becomes brittle and prone to cracking in certain accidents at pressurized water reactors, potentially releasing its radioactive contents into the environment.
LEAKY VALVES: Operators have repeatedly violated leakage standards for valves designed to bottle up radioactive steam in the event of earthquakes and other accidents at boiling water reactors.
Many plants have found they could not adhere to the general standard allowing each of these parts - known as main steam isolation valves - to leak at a rate of no more than 11.5 cubic feet per hour. In 1999, the NRC decided to permit individual plants to seek amendments of up to 200 cubic feet per hour for all four steam valves combined.
But plants keep violating even those higher limits. For example, in 2007, Hatch Unit 2, in Baxley, Ga., reported combined leakage of 574 cubic feet per hour.
CRACKED TUBING: The industry has long known of cracking in steel alloy tubing originally used in the steam generators of pressurized water reactors. Ruptures were rampant in these tubes containing radioactive coolant; in 1993 alone, there were seven. Even today, as many as 18 reactors are still running on old generators.
Problems can arise even in a newer metal alloy, according to a report of a 2008 industry-government workshop.
CORRODED PIPING: Nuclear operators have failed to stop an epidemic of leaks in pipes and other underground equipment in damp settings. The country's nuclear sites have suffered more than 400 accidental radioactive leaks during their history, the activist Union of Concerned Scientists reported in September.
Plant operators have been drilling monitoring wells and patching hidden or buried piping and other equipment for several years to control an escalating outbreak.
Here, too, they have failed. Between 2000 and 2009, the annual number of leaks from underground piping shot up fivefold, according to an internal industry document obtained and analyzed by the AP.
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CONCERNS OF LONG STANDING
Even as they reassured the public, regulators have been worrying about aging reactors since at least the 1980s, when the first ones were entering only their second decade of operation. A 1984 report for the NRC blamed wear, corrosion, crud and fatigue for more than a third of 3,098 failures of parts or systems within the first 12 years of industry operations; the authors believed the number was actually much higher.
A decade later, in 1994, the NRC reported to Congress that the critical shrouds lining reactor cores were cracked at a minimum of 11 units, including five with extensive damage. The NRC ordered more aggressive maintenance, but an agency report last year said cracking of internal core components - spurred by radiation - remains "a major concern" in boiling water reactors.
A 1995 study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory covering a seven-year period found that aging contributed to 19 percent of scenarios that could have ended in severe accidents.
In 2001, the Union of Concerned Scientists, which does not oppose nuclear power, told Congress that aging problems had shut reactors eight times within 13 months.
And an NRC presentation for an international workshop that same year warned of escalating wear at reactor buildings meant to bottle up radiation during accidents. A total of 66 cases of damage were cited in the presentation, with corrosion reported at a quarter of all containment buildings. In at least two cases - at the two-reactor North Anna site 40 miles northwest of Richmond, Va., and the two-unit Brunswick facility near Wilmington, N.C. - steel containment liners designed to shield the public had rusted through.
And in 2009, a one-third-inch hole was discovered in a liner at Beaver Valley Unit 1 in Shippingport, Pa.
Long-standing, unresolved problems persist with electrical cables, too.
In a 1993 report labeled "official use only," an NRC staffer warned that electrical parts throughout plants were subject to dangerous age-related breakdowns unforeseen by the agency. Almost a fifth of cables failed in testing that simulated the effects of 40 years of wear. The report warned that as a result, reactor core damage could occur much more often than expected.
Fifteen years later, the problem appeared to have worsened. An NRC report warned in 2008 that rising numbers of electrical cables are failing with age, prompting temporary shutdowns and degrading safety. Agency staff tallied 269 known failures over the life of the industry.
Two industry-funded reports obtained by the AP said that managers and regulators have worried increasingly about the reliability of sometimes wet, hard-to-reach underground cables over the past five-to-10 years. One of the reports last year acknowledged many electrical-related aging failures at plants around the country.
"Multiple cable circuits may fail when called on to perform functions affecting safety," the report warned.
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EATEN AWAY FROM WITHIN
Few aging problems have been more challenging than chemical corrosion from within.
In one of the industry's worst accidents, a corroded pipe burst at Virginia's Surry 2 reactor in 1986 and showered workers with scalding steam, killing four.
In summer 2001, the NRC was confronted with a new problem: Corrosive chemicals were cracking nozzles on reactors. But the NRC let operators delay inspections to coincide with scheduled outages. Inspection finally took place in February 2002 at the Davis-Besse unit in Ohio.
What workers found shocked the industry.
They discovered extensive cracking and a place where acidic boron had spurted from the reactor and eaten a gouge as big as a football. When the problem was found, just a fraction of an inch of inner lining remained. An NRC analysis determined that the vessel head could have burst within two months - what former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford has called a "near rupture" which could have released large amounts of radiation into the environment.
In 2001-3 alone, at least 10 plants developed these cracks, according to an NRC analysis.
Industry defenders blame human failings at Davis-Besse. Owner FirstEnergy Corp. paid a $28 million fine, and courts convicted two plant employees of hiding the deterioration. NRC spokesman Scott Burnell declared that the agency "learned from the incident and improved resident inspector training and knowledge-sharing to ensure that such a situation is never repeated."
Yet on the same March day last year that Burnell's comments were released, Davis-Besse workers again found dried boron on the nozzles of a replacement vessel head, indicating more leaks. Inspecting further, they again found cracks in 24 of 69 nozzles.
"We were not expecting this issue," said plant spokesman Todd Schneider.
In August, the operator applied for a 20-year license extension. Under pressure from the NRC, the company has agreed to replace the replacement head in October.
As far back as the 1990s, the industry and NRC also were well aware that the steel-alloy tubing in many steam generators was subject to chemical corrosion. It could crack over time, releasing radioactive gases that can bypass the containment building. If too much spurts out, there may be too little water to cool down the reactor, prompting a core melt.
In 1993, NRC personnel reported seven outright ruptures inside the generators, several forced outages per year, and some complete replacements. Personnel at the Catawba plant near Charlotte, N.C., found more than 8,000 corroded tubes - more than half its total.
For plants with their original generators, "there is no end in sight to the steam generator tube degradation problems," a top agency manager declared. NRC staffers warned: "Crack depth is difficult to measure reliably and the crack growth rate is difficult to determine."
Yet no broad order was issued for shutdowns to inspect generators.
Instead, the staff began to talk to operators about how to deal with the standard that no cracks could go deeper than 40 percent through the tube wall.
In 1995, the NRC staff put out alternative criteria that let reactors keep running if they could reach positive results with remote checks known as "eddy-currents tests." The new test standard gave more breathing room to reactors.
According to a 2001 report by the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, the staff "acknowledged that there would be some possibility that cracks of objectionable depth might be overlooked and left in the steam generator for an additional operating cycle." The alternative, the report said, would be to repair or remove potentially many tubes from service.
NRC engineer Joe Hopenfeld, who had worked previously in the industry, challenged this approach at the time from within the agency. He warned that multiple ruptures in corroded tubing could release radiation. The NRC said radiation would be confined.
Hopenfeld now says this conclusion wasn't based on solid analysis but "wishful thinking" and research meant to reach a certain conclusion - another instance of "sharpening the pencil."
"It was a hard problem to solve, and they did not want to say it was a problem, because if they really said it was a problem, they would have to shut down a lot of reactors."
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AGE IS NO ISSUE, SAYS INDUSTRY
With financial pressures mounting in the 1990s to extend the life of aging reactors, new NRC calculations using something called the "Master Curve" put questionable reactor vessels back into the safe zone.
A 1999 NRC review of the Master Curve, used to analyze metal toughness, noted that energy deregulation had put financial pressure on nuclear plants. It went on: "So utility executives are considering new operational scenarios, some of which were unheard of as little as five years ago: extending the licensed life of the plant beyond 40 years." As a result, it said, the industry and the NRC were considering "refinements" of embrittlement calculations "with an eye to reducing known over-conservatisms."
Asked about references to economic pressures, NRC spokesman Burnell said motivations are irrelevant if a technology works.
Former NRC commissioner Peter Lyons said, "There certainly is plenty of research ... to support a relaxation of the conservativisms that had been built in before. I don't see that as decreasing safety. I see that as an appropriate standard."
Though some parts are too big and too expensive to replace, industry defenders also point out that many others are routinely replaced over the years.
Tony Pietrangelo, chief nuclear officer of the industry's Nuclear Energy Institute, acknowledges that you'd expect to see a growing failure rate at some point - "if we didn't replace and do consistent maintenance."
In a sense, then, supporters of aging nukes say an old reactor is essentially a collection of new parts.
"When a plant gets to be 40 years old, about the only thing that's 40 years old is the ink on the license," said NRC chief spokesman Eliot Brenner. "Most, if not all of the major components, will have been changed out."
Oyster Creek spokesman David Benson said the reactor "is as safe today as when it was built."
Yet plant officials have been trying to arrest rust on its 100-foot-high, radiation-blocking steel drywell for decades. The problem was declared solved long ago, but a rust patch was found again in late 2008. Benson said the new rust was only the size of a dime, but acknowledged there was "some indication of water getting in."
In an effort to meet safety standards, aging reactors have been forced to come up with backfit on top of backfit.
As Ivan Selin, a retired NRC chairman, put it: "It's as if we were all driving Model T's today and trying to bring them up to current mileage standards."
For example, the state of New Jersey - not the NRC - had ordered Oyster Creek to build cooling towers to protect sea life in nearby Barnegat Bay. Owner Exelon Corp. said that would cost about $750 million and force it to close the reactor - 20-year license extension notwithstanding. Even with the announcement to close in 2019, Oyster Creek will have been in operation for 50 years.
Many of the safety changes have been justified by something called "risk-informed" analysis, which the industry has employed widely since the 1990s: Regulators set aside a strict check list applied to all systems and focus instead on features deemed to carry the highest risk.
But one flaw of risk-informed analysis is that it doesn't explicitly account for age. An older reactor is not viewed as inherently more unpredictable than a younger one. Ed Lyman, a physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, says risk-informed analysis has usually served "to weaken regulations, rather than strengthen them."
Even without the right research, the NRC has long reserved legal wiggle room to enforce procedures, rules and standards as it sees fit. A 2008 position paper by the industry group EPRI said the approach has brought "a more tractable enforcement process and a significant reduction in the number of cited violations."
But some safety experts call it "tombstone regulation," implying that problems fester until something goes very wrong. "Until there are tombstones, they don't regulate," said Blanch, the longtime industry engineer who became a whistleblower.
Barry Bendar, a database administrator who lives one mile from Oyster Creek, said representatives of Exelon were asked at a public meeting in 2009 if the plant had a specific life span.
"Their answer was, `No, we can fix it, we can replace, we can patch,'" said Bendar. "To me, everything reaches an end of its life span."
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VIDEO:
Nebraska Nuclear Plant threatened by Missouri River Flooding: Fort Calhoun Omaha
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Nebraska Nuclear Plant threatened by Missouri River Flood - Fort Calhoun Omaha

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Midwest Floods: Both Nebraska Nuke Stations Threatened

by Rady Ananda
The People's Voice

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Tens of millions of acres in the US corn belt have flooded, which will spike the cost of gas and food over the next several months. Worse, several nuclear power plants sit in the flooded plains. Both nuclear plants in Nebraska are partly submerged and the FAA has issued a no-fly order over both of them.
On June 7, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant filed an Alert with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after a fire broke out in the switchgear room. During the event, “spent fuel pool cooling was lost” when two fuel pumps failed for about 90 minutes.
On June 9, Nebraska’s other plant, Cooper Nuclear Power Station near Brownville, filed a Notice of Unusual Event (NOUE), advising it is unable to discharge sludge into the Missouri River due to flooding, and therefore “overtopped” its sludge pond.
The Fort Calhoun TFR (temporary flight restriction) was issued the day before the nuclear Alert. The FAA issued another TFR on June 7 for the Cooper plant.
Other flood-related TFRs were issued on June 13 for the Garrison Dam in Bismarck, North Dakota and on June 5 for rescue operations in Sioux City, SD.
Under the four-level nuclear event scale used in the US, an NOUE is the least hazardous. In an Alert, however, “events are in process or have occurred that involve an actual or potential substantial degradation in the level of safety of the plant,” according to the NRC.
Despite some media reports, Ft Calhoun is not at a stage 4 level of emergency, which under the US scale, would be “actual or imminent substantial core damage or melting of reactor fuel with the potential for loss of containment integrity.”
If that rumor refers to the seven-level International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, a Level 4 incident requires at least one death, which has not occurred. Continued flooding does threaten the plants, however. As nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen explains in the below video, cooling pumps must operate continuously, even years after a plant is shut down.
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One group, the Foundation for Resilient Societies, has proposed solar panels and other high-reliability power sources to supply backup cooling for the fuel pools at nuclear plants.
Thomas Popik told Food Freedom that FRS “invited the Chief Nuclear Officers of nearly every nuclear power utility to comment” on their proposal and only heard back from one operator. Otherwise, not one CNO has officially responded to the NRC-filed proposal.
While hindsight might be 20/20, the lack of foresight can be blindingly deadly when it comes to radioactive waste that lasts tens of thousands of years for the measly prize of 40 years of electricity.
The Ft. Calhoun plant – which stores its fuel rods at ground level according to Tom Burnett – is already partly submerged.
“Ft. Calhoun is the designated spent fuel storage facility for the entire state of Nebraska…and maybe for more than one state. Calhoun stores its spent fuel in ground-level pools which are underwater anyway – but they are open at the top. When the Missouri river pours in there, it’s going to make Fukushima look like an x-ray.”
In 2010, Nebraska stored 840 metric tons of the highly radioactive spent fuel rods, reports the Nuclear Energy Institute. That's one-tenth of what Illinois stores (8,440 MT), and less than Louisiana (1,210) and Minnesota (1,160). But it's more than other flood-threatened states like Missouri (650) and Iowa (420).
“But that’s not all,” adds Burnett. “There are a LOT of nuclear plants on both the Missouri and Mississippi and they can all go to hell fast.”
The black triangles in the below image prepared by the Center for Public Integrity show the disclosed locations of nuclear power plants in the US, minus research and military plants. (Red lines indicate both Mississippi and Missouri rivers):
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Fort Calhoun is the smallest nuke plant in the nation, with one pressurized water reactor generating less than 500 MW. The NRC relicensed the plant thru 2033, giving it a lifespan of 60 years. Cooper was first commissioned in 1974 and has been relicensed thru 2034, also giving it a 60-year lifespan.
Since June 7, Cooper has been running under “Abnormal Operating Procedures” when river depth topped 38.5 feet (895 feet MSL), flooding the north access road. Sandbags and extra diesel fuel were brought in, reports WOWT.
As of 1:15 pm ET on June 16, the river height of just over 40 feet near Cooper is still 5 feet below the elevation required for a plant shutdown. Near Fort Calhoun, the river is even lower as of 1:15 pm ET on June 16 (under 32 feet).
In 1993, the Cooper Nuclear Station was critically flooded, prompting an emergency shut down.

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Huge AZ wildfire spreads, 330 square miles UPDATED: Arizona Fire Grows to 511,118 Acres, 54 percent Contained: Fire Smoke Map NEW LINK ADDED: Wallow Fire Update VIDEO ADDED

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UPDATE LINK:

Wallow Fire Update
June 19, 2011 8:00 p.m.
Fire Facts:
Location: Apache, Navajo, Graham, and Greenlee
Injuries to Date: 12
Counties, White Mountain Apache Reservation, San Carlos Apache Reservation, Arizona;
Catron County, New Mexico
Total Personnel: 3,594
Includes 15 hotshot crews;
56 handcrews
Date Started: 05/29/2011
Cause: Human - under investigation
Residences: 2,714 threatened; 32 destroyed;
5 damaged
Size: 511,118 acres total
Commercial Property: 473 threatened; 4 destroyed
Percent Contained: 51%
Resources: 15 Helicopter; 5 Air Tankers available;
196 Engines; 72 Water Tenders; 21 Dozers
Outbuildings: 1,216 threatened; 36 destroyed;
1 damaged
Vehicles: 1 destroyed

Fire Update
Greer Evacuation being lifted Monday June 20, 2011
Apache County Sheriff's Office reports that Greer residents only can go to the Round Valley High School Dome at 11:00 A.M. Monday 6/20/11 to receive a pass to return to Greer. Evacuees must have valid identification verifying residency in order to enter.
On the east flank, wind driven fire spread to the northeast past Luna, N.M. Crews are working to keep it in check at FR 19. Air support began to work on objectives early this morning and were able to continue longer than anticipated before expected wind gusts arrived. The fire has crossed Trout Creek and is moving toward Bishop Canyon in N.M.
In the south, the fire is holding in the Steeple Creek area along the Blue River. In the southwest, firing and holding operations were instrumental in preventing the movement of the fire across Hwy 191. Fire is expected to back in a southerly direction toward indirect line where the fire is anticipated to be contained. Crews have completed construction of control lines on the south end of the fire between McBride Canyon and Highway 191. Burnout operations have begun north of this line and will continue as conditions allow.
Firefighters are continuing mop-up and fireline repair activities along the west and north flanks of the fire. Minimal fire activity was observed in the north today with only isolated single and group tree torching and short runs in interior islands.
Navopache Electric Cooperative crews are working on lines to restore consistent power to Alpine and Nutrioso. Currently, power is being provided by generators. Residents are urged to be conservative with their use of electricity. Please be advised that there will be intermittent power outages in Nutrioso and Alpine.
Today's Red Flag warning will continue tonight until 8 pm. Winds will diminish tonight. On Monday, winds will be west-northwest between 8-17 mph with gusts to 32 mph. Temperatures will be cooler, from 68-70, with relative humidity 8-15 percent.

Public Safety
Smoke from the ongoing wildfires in AZ. will continue to impact residents in the Wallow Fire area including southwestern N.M. For more information, link to the smoke outlook for 6/20-posted at http://ge.tt/8sjO9F5.
· A Crisis Intervention Line (928) 333-2683 is available for residents suffering from the stress of living with fire danger.
· An Individual Assistance Service Center (IASC) open daily 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Round Valley Public Library, 179 S Main, Eagar for all evacuated Arizonans to access information to assist in their personal recovery from the fire.
· For more safety information see: http://tinyurl.com/6zvcrck
· The National Weather Service on the potential of flooding: The Wallow Fire burned vast portions of the White Mountains including areas of steep terrain which will make numerous locations vulnerable to flash floods and debris flows even in moderate intensity (10 - 15 minutes) rains. Some area streams and rivers are likely to see flows beyond anything seen in decades if typical or above average rains occur. This summer, all residents near streams, rivers, or steep burned hillsides should be alert to flooding and debris flows. Residents should be aware that area roadways may become impassible due to mud, rock and debris slides or due to streams and washes overwhelming existing culverts and bridges.
· Apache County and local Fire Departments have begun identifying locations for staging of sandbags in anticipation of the monsoon season. More information will be provided as locations are confirmed.
Community Meetings Tomorrow Monday, June 20
· There will be a meeting Monday at 6:00 p.m. at the White Mountain Apache Tribal Council Chambers in Whiteriver, AZ. Members of the Southwest Area Incident Management Team will provide information on the current status of Zone 3 (west side) of the Wallow Fire. Included will be a Google Earth virtual tour of the fire area. 6 p.m. Monday, White Mountain Tribal Council Chambers, Whiteriver, AZ.
· 6 p.m. Monday, Round Valley High School hosted by the Apache/Sitgreaves National Forest.
Current Evacuations
· Luna, N.M. was evacuated as of 3:15 p.m. yesterday.
· Evacuations remain in effect in Sunrise, Greer and Blue River.
· The evacuation for Alpine was lifted yesterday, June 18 and residents were allowed to return to their homes.
Evacuee Information
· An evacuation center is open at the High School in Reserve, N.M. for Luna residents.
· 10 a.m. daily evacuee meetings will be held at the Blue Ridge High School in Pinetop/Lakeside, AZ.
· Arizona evacuees whose Post Office is closed may pick up their mail at the Eagar Post Office.
Pre-Evacuation Alert
  • A pre-evacuation alert continues in Apache County for Greens Peak, Hidden Meadows Lodge and surrounding areas.
Residents in these communities are asked to remain prepared for evacuation.
Road Closures according to Arizona Department of Transportation: http://www.azdot.gov/
  • Northbound US 180 is closed from the junction with N.M. 12 to the AZ. state line (mileposts 20-0). Southbound lanes are open for possible evacuations of Luna, N.M. Please use N.M. 12 or N.M. 32 as alternate routes. US 180 is closed from Glenwood south of Cat Walk Rd to Silver City, N.M. at N. Pope St. (mileposts 51 to 113).
  • US 180 is closed east of Alpine to the New Mexico state line (mileposts 430-433).
· US 191 is closed between Alpine and north of Clifton (milepost 176-253).
· SR 261 (mileposts 395-413) and SR 273 (mileposts 378-394), main roads to Big Lake & Crescent Lake are closed.
· SR 373 that connects the town of Greer with SR 260 west of Eagar is closed (mileposts 386-391).
· In southern AZ., SR 366 is closed at milepost 118 leading up to Mount Graham (milepost 143) near Safford.
Closures and Restrictions
  • Apache - Sitgreaves National Forest: The Apache side of the Forest is closed to all public entry. A closure order is in effect for portions of the Sitgreaves side of the National Forest. Contact the Arizona fire restrictions hotline for information at
(877) 864-6985 or www.publiclands.org/firenews/AZ.php.
  • Gila National Forest: A closure is in effect for the western portion of the Gila National Forest. Call (575) 388-8201,
TTY (575) 388-8497 or see http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila.
  • White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation: Partial area closures are in effect for the eastside of the Fort Apache Reservation. See http://www.wmat.nsn.us/.
Jun 20, 2011

Winds challenge crews battling AZ, NM wildfires



PHOENIX (AP) -- Thousands more people evacuated their homes in southern Arizona Sunday as crews battling a wildfire faced extremely high winds that drove flames across roads and containment lines and toward populated areas.
The Monument fire was one of several raging in the Arizona and New Mexico where forecasters say fire crews would likely have little relief from the hot, windy weather that has dogged them for days.
About 3,000 people from 1,700 homes were evacuated south of the city of Sierra Vista where the blaze has been burning for a week but picked up speed Sunday as winds gusted up to 60 mph, Cochise County sheriff's spokeswoman Carol Capas said late Sunday night.
The flames raced down a mountain and into a heavily populated area, forcing crews to abandon their lines and set up in new spots.
"Winds pushed fire across Highway 92, making run so fast and so hot that the danger to citizens in the path was significant," she told The Associated Press. "The fire crews are doing an amazing job, trying to get in front of it."
Sunday's evacuations brought the total number to about 10,000 people from 4,300 homes forced to flee the flames, she said.
Some residences were destroyed Sunday, adding to the 44 already reported, but fire officials still don't have an exact number, Capas said. There have been no serious injuries.
Winds had diminished by late Sunday and were projected to reach just 10 mph Monday.
"It that prediction holds, it will be a big benefit for firefighters," she said.
Before the winds spread the flames earlier in the day, the blaze was reported 27 percent contained at about 21,000 acres or nearly 33 square miles.
Meanwhile, the massive Wallow fire that has been burning in eastern Arizona for three weeks kept about 200 residents of Luna, N.M., under an evacuation order for a second day.
A containment line that had held through days of high winds was breached Saturday and the fire raced toward town before shifting winds steered it around the community. It was moving to the north into an area of scattered ranches late Sunday afternoon, fire information officer Michael Puentes said.
Despite the evacuation order for Luna, about half the town's residents remained in town. They have been told to stay off the roads so they don't get in the way of fire crews, Catron County Undersheriff Ian Fletcher said. Few people went to a Red Cross shelter set up in Reserve, N.M.
"If the fire comes back around or things change where they have to get out, we still have an egress point, so we will still escort them out of town," Fletcher said. "We're expecting high winds this afternoon - we're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best."
The Wallow fire, which is burning up much of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, is the largest of several wildfires burning in spots across the southwestern United States.
Evacuation orders for Luna came on the same day that some other residents displaced by the fire that began May 29 were allowed to return home.
The Wallow blaze has consumed nearly 800 square miles, a little more than 511,000 acres, and more than 3,500 firefighters were trying to stop its advance. It is larger than a 2002 fire that burned 732 square miles and destroyed 491 buildings that had been the largest in state history. Despite its size, the latest fire has destroyed just 32 homes and four rental cabins. Containment rose to 44 percent Sunday.
Residents of Alpine, Ariz., were allowed to return to their homes Saturday morning after being forced out for more than two weeks, while residents of the resort town of Greer will be allowed to return home late Monday morning.
A new wildfire ignited Sunday in northcentral Arizona that officials said could threaten powerlines running to Phoenix as well as some scattered ranches in coming days.
Eric Nietel, spokesman for the Show Low fire department, said late Sunday night that the blaze, about 40 miles northeast of Payson, had burned about 500 acres.
A fire burning on both sides of the New Mexico-Colorado border outside of Raton, N.M. was 80 percent contained and evacuations had all been lifted. Fire officials said existing fire lines were holding despite strong winds in the area. The fire apparently was started June 12 by engine exhaust from an all-terrain vehicle trespassing on railroad property.
Another wildfire in Cochise County, Ariz., called Horseshoe Two was 75 percent contained after charring about 210,000 acres - nearly 330 square miles. It has destroyed 23 structures since it started May 8.
A fire burning 9 miles north of Santa Fe, N.M., had burned about 900 acres by Sunday morning and was being driven northeast into the Pecos Wilderness, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Alberta Maez said. The fire broke out Saturday and was not threatening any structures, but hikers and residents In the Santa Fe Ski Basin, Aspen Basin, Aspen Vista, and Big Tesuque were told to be ready to leave is necessary.
And in East Texas, firefighters Sunday were trying to contain a 23-square-mile blaze that had destroyed two unoccupied homes and at least four trailers. The fire, about 100 miles north of Houston, was about 40 percent contained and no evacuations were ordered, Texas Forest Service spokesman Richard Reuse said.
The fire started after a person hauling a trailer pulled off the road with a hot wheel bearing, which ignited dry grass nearby, Texas Forest Service spokesman Ralph Cullom said.
All of the Arizona wildfires are believed to be human caused. Investigators believe a campfire was the most likely cause of the Wallow fire.
Authorities in southern New Mexico were also looking for "persons of interest" as they searched for the cause of a fire that burned several homes in the wooded community of Ruidoso.


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Jun 11,2011


Huge AZ wildfire spreads, health conditions worsen



SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. (AP) -- An eye-stinging haze of smoke spewing from a gigantic wildfire in eastern Arizona added a potentially serious public health threat to the conflagration on Saturday as firefighters moved to counter spot fires erupting across the state line in New Mexico.
The 640-square-mile blaze (430,171 acres total) remained largely uncontained and firefighters worried that a predicted return of gusty southwesterly winds in the afternoon would cause it to grow even larger.
"We expect the winds to be testing a lot of our lines out there," fire spokeswoman Karen Takai said.
The fire began spotting across the state line Friday night and 150 additional firefighters and several fire engines were sent to bolster forces already waiting in New Mexico, officials said.
Concern about hazardous levels of air pollution spread beyond northeastern Arizona.
Winds were expected to carry the plume across western and central New Mexico to the Albuquerque and Santa Fe metropolitan areas, the National Weather Service said. Dense smoke was predicted in a half-dozen small communities.
"The amount of particulate matter, smoke in the air, is a big issue," Takai said.
Concern was greatest for the elderly, young children and people with respiratory illnesses.
"Go visit your doctors, see what they say you should do," Takai advised the public.
Guarding the mountain town of Greer, firefighter Matt Howell, 28, described the difficulty of working in such conditions.
"You get in there and it's hard to breathe," he said. "You start coughing, can't get that good nice breath of air."
More than 30 homes have been destroyed since the fire began, thousands of residents have fled communities and the blaze posed a potential danger to two major power lines that bring electricity from Arizona to West Texas.
Lighter winds Thursday and Friday helped the 4,400 firefighters make progress, but critical fire conditions remain.
Fire crews plan to try to strengthen what lines they've been able to establish and continue burning out forested areas in front of the main fire to try to stop its advance. Containment was estimated at just 6 percent, on the northeastern edge.
The advances came on the fire's north side, near the working-class towns of Springerville and Eagar on the edge of the forest. Nearly 10,000 people have been evacuated from the two towns and from several mountain communities in the forest.
On Friday, fire officials gave reporters the first look at two of the mountain communities - Alpine and Nutrioso - in nearly two weeks, driving them through the deserted resort towns and surrounding areas.
Some stands of trees in the forest were untouched while others looked like blackened matchsticks sticking up through lingering smoke. Firefighters were working in the area, using drip torches to light fires and burn out undergrowth.
Deer and elk grazed in unscorched areas, while wild turkeys walked through tall grass along the road. Two miles south of Alpine, whole hillsides of ponderosa were decimated.
The two Arizona-Texas power lines were still in the fire's path. El Paso Electric has warned its 372,000 customers that they may see rolling blackouts if the lines are cut.
The fire is the second-largest in state history and could eclipse the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire in size, although only a fraction of the homes have burned.
The Chediski began as a signal fire and merged with the Rodeo, which was intentionally set by a firefighter who needed work. Together they burned 732 square miles (1,895 sq. kilometers) and destroyed 491 buildings.
The current Wallow Fire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest has destroyed 31 homes or cabins, including 22 in the picturesque mountain community of Greer, fire spokesman Jim Whittington said. Two dozen outbuildings and a truck also were lost and five homes damaged in Greer when the fire moved in Wednesday night.
Firefighters are battling another major wildfire in far southeastern Arizona, also near the New Mexico line. The so-called Horseshoe Two blaze burned through 211 square miles or 135,000 acres of brush and timber since it started in early May. The fire has destroyed 23 structures but caused no serious injuries. It was 45 percent contained late Friday and fire officials hope to have it fully contained by late June.


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 Apache-Sitgreaves National June 7, 2011
Photo taken by Ron Sander.
 US Forest Service, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
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UPDATE LINK:

 

Wallow Fire Update, June 10,

Date Started: 5/29/2011
Number of Personnel: Approximately 3,137
Location: south and west of Alpine, Arizona
Including 19 hotshot crews and 45 hand crews
Cause: Human - under investigation
Equipment: 17 dozers, 221 engines, 66 watertenders
Size: 408,887ac based on last night's infrared data
Aircraft: 14 helicopters
Percent Contained: 5%
Injuries to Date: 3
Residences: 5,242 threatened; 29 destroyed 5 damaged
Structures: 24 destroyed
Other: 1 truck destroyed
Area Command Team 3 lead by Jim Loach is now managing the Wallow Fire

The Wallow Fire Structure Assessment Team has completed its work in Greer. The team reports that 22 homes were destroyed, 5 homes damaged and 24 outbuildings and 1 truck destroyed. The Apache County Sheriff is still in the process of tracking and notifying the property owners who were affected.
·� Media should call 480-331-9554 to coordinate interviews.
·� The Blue Ridge evacuation center phone number is 602-336-6660
·� There will be a media briefing tonight at 9:00 p.m. at the Rest Stop on Hwy 60, north of Springerville.
·� There will be a community meeting tonight at 6:00 p.m. at the Blue Ridge High School Auditorium at Pinetop-Lakeside.
Fire Update
The fire is 5% contained on the northeast side of the fire. Last night's operational period included burnout operations, structure protection, patrolling for spot fires, and mop up in the Alpine area. The predicted weather today is expected to allow firefighters to continue burnout operations. Today's operational period also includes, building fireline using handcrews & dozers around Springerville and Eagar, structure protection, patrolling for spot fires and mop up. The DC-10 air tanker was used during yesterday's operations in the area of Greer.
Multiple jurisdictions of Law Enforcement are working with the incident to ensure public and firefighter safety, as well, as protection of property during evacuations.

Current Evacuations
· Full evacuation of Eager and Springerville. The evacuations were ordered by the Apache County Sheriff's Office on June 8 around 4:00 p.m.
· Sunrise, Greer, Blue River, Alpine, Nutrioso, and the following subdivisions along highways 180/191: Escudilla Mountain Estates, Bonita, White Mtn. Acres, and the H-V Ranch. This area includes County Road (CR) 4000, CR 4001, and CR 4225.
· The evacuation center is located at Blue Ridge High School, 1200 W. White Mtn. Blvd., Pinetop/Lakeside.


Pre-Evacuation Alert
  • A pre-evacuation alert has been issued by Apache County for Greens Peak, Hidden Meadows Lodge and the surrounding areas.
· A pre-evacuation alert has been issued by Catron County Sheriff's Office for Luna, New Mexico.
  • Residents in the communities affected by this fire are asked to remain prepared in the event an order is needed.
Residents with livestock or animals that need care should contact the Apache County Sheriff's Office (928) 337-4321 or the Greenlee County Sheriff's Office (928) 865-4149.

Road Closures according to Arizona Department of Transportation: http://www.azdot.gov
· State Route 373, a 4.5 mile-long highway that connects the town of Greer in eastern Arizona with SR 260 west of Eagar, is closed.
· US 191 is closed between Alpine and north of Clifton (mileposts 176-253).
· State Routes 261 and 273, the main access roads to Big Lake and Crescent Lake in the White Mountains, are closed. SR 261 is closed starting approximately seven miles south of SR 260 to Crescent Lake (mileposts 395-413) and SR 273 is closed between the SR 260 junction and to the SR 261 junction (mileposts 378-394).
· US 180 is closed between the SR 260 junction near Eagar and the New Mexico state line (mileposts 403-433).

Closures
Due to extreme fire conditions, the Apache National Forest is closed to all public entry. See website for closure order details. Please see the Forest website for more information: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf/.

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Fire Restrictions: A temporary emergency closure order
was issued effective June 3 at 12:00 p.m. (noon). For more information, please call the Arizona fire restrictions hotline 1-877-864-6985 or visit http://www.publiclands.org/firenews/AZ.php.
Public Information
Public information will continue to be available by Twitter, Flicker, http://www.inciweb.org/, regular email updates as well as by phone at (928) 333-3412, (702) 308-3238, (702) 308-3357, or 702) 308-8227. Information will also be available at the evacuation center located at Blue Ridge High School in Pinetop/Lake Side. A community meeting was held at the Blue Ridge High School and was recorded by City 4 TV. Interested parties can view the recording at http://www.showlowtv.com/.

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MAP LINK:


Arizona Wallow Fire Smoke Map June 7, 2007
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Wallow Fire Update, June 7, 8am

Incident: Wallow Wildfire

UPDATE LINK


Date Started: 5/29/2011
Number of Personnel: Approximately 2,140
Location: south and west of Alpine, Arizona
Including 27 hotshot crews and 29 handcrews
Cause: Human - under investigation
Equipment: 8 dozers, 141 engines, 46 watertenders
Size: 311,481 acres
Aircraft: 20 helicopters
Percent Contained: 0%
Injuries to Date: none
Structures: 343 threatened; 1 damaged; 10 lost


A community meeting is being held at the Springerville High School Auditorium, Tuesday, June 7 at 6:00p.m.

Current Evacuations
· Sunrise, Greer, Blue River, Alpine, Nutrioso, and the following subdivisions along highways 180/191: Escudilla Mountain Estates, Bonita, White Mtn. Acres, and the H-V Ranch. This area includes CR 4000, CR 4001, and CR 4225
Pre-Evacuation Alert
  • Pre-evacuation alert issued by Apache County Sheriff's Office for Eager, Springerville and South Fork.
· Pre-evacuation alert issued by Catron County Sheriff's Office has issued for Luna, New Mexico.
  • Residents in the communities affected by this fire are asked to remain prepared in the event an order is needed.
Residents with livestock or animals that need care, please contact the Apache County Sheriff's Office (928) 337-4321or the Greenlee County Sheriff's Office (928) 865-4149

Fire Update
Yesterday we experienced extreme fire behavior due to the forecast high winds and low humidity; similar weather conditions are expected today. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the area. The fire has become established on the east side of Highway 191, just north of the Alpine Divide, and is moving toward the Escudilla Wilderness. Today we expect another active fire day, especially on the north and east flanks of the fire. Firefighters are continuing to work around the clock, day and night shifts. Spot fires are occurring up to 3 miles ahead of the fire. Firefighter activities include: building fire line, perimeter control, structure protection, and patrolling for spot fires.
Closures:
Due to extreme fire conditions, the Apache National Forest is closed to all public entry. See website for closure order details. Please see the Forest website for more information: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf/

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Fire Restrictions: A Temporary Emergency Closure Order for the Apache National Forest was issued effective June 3 at 12:00 p.m. (noon). For more information, please call the Arizona fire restrictions hotline 1-877-864-6985 or visit http://www.wildlandfire.az.gov/.

Third town evacuated as fire rages for ninth day

 June 07, 2011
Reuters

A wildfire that has charred more than 350 square miles (906 sq km) in eastern Arizona has forced the evacuation of a third town and crept near populated areas along the New Mexico border as it raged out of control for a ninth day.
Dogged by fierce winds and low humidity, some 2,300 fire-fighters battled flames in and around the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest that sent smoke billowing across several states, as far east as Iowa.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer declared a state of emergency in two counties - Apache and Greenlee - in the rugged White Mountains region.
Fire information spokesman Deryl Jevons said gale-force wind gusts were making conditions especially difficult.
"That's going to create some significant fire activity," Jevons told Reuters.
The so-called Wallow Fire, burning about 250 miles (400 km) northeast of Phoenix and stretching to near the Arizona-New Mexico border, ranks as the third-largest fire on record in Arizona.
So far containment of the blaze remained at zero, but fire officials were hoping to make some gains in the next few days, said Matt Benson, a spokesman for the governor, after she was briefed on the situation.
"It's entirely dependent on weather conditions in that part of the state right now," he said.
Casting an orange glow in the sky that could be seen for miles, the blaze has blackened nearly 234,000 acres, or 364 square miles (943 sq km), of forest land since erupting on May 29, according to state fire authorities.
The most recent town to be evacuated by authorities is Greer, Arizona, a popular summer retreat in the region that is home to about 200 permanent residents, said Sergeant Richard Guinn, a spokesman for the Apache County Sheriff's Office.
"The fire has continued to progress to a trigger point, so deputies are evacuating Greer as we speak," he told Reuters.
Several hundred residents of the nearby towns of Alpine and Nutrioso were ordered from their homes late last week, with no estimate given for when they would be permitted to return. Four smaller housing developments were evacuated.

Residents in the town of Luna, just over the New Mexico line, were told to stand by for possible evacuation orders should the blaze get too close, authorities said.
Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 fire-fighters continued to make gains against a separate large wildfire burning in the south-eastern part of the state.
Officials said the Horseshoe 2 Fire had consumed more than 100,000 acres (40,470 hectares) and prompted the evacuation of two small communities there. That fire was listed as 55 percent contained.

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Seen from space (nasa)June 5, 2001
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DOUBLE CLICK MAP TO ENLARGE
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UPDATED 3 PM Local AZ time June 5, 2011

UPDATE LINK


Wallow Fire Update, June 5, 11:30 PM AZ TIME



Date Started: 5/29/2011
Number of Personnel: Approximately 2,315 personnel
Location: south and west of Alpine, Arizona
Including 31 hotshot crews and 25 handcrews
Cause: Human - under investigation
Equipment: 12 dozers, 138 engines, 31 watertenders
Size: 192,746
Aircraft: 22 helicopters
Percent Contained: 0%
Injuries to Date: none

Community Meeting
· A community meeting will be held at the Springerville High School Auditorium, Mon. Jun. 6 at 6pm.

Current Evacuations
· The evacuation of Blue River residents by Greenlee County officials remains in effect.
· Residents in the communities affected by this fire are asked to remain prepared in the event an order is needed.
  • The evacuation order for the communities of Alpine and Nutrioso by Apache County Emergency Management remain in effect.
  • Evacuations today by the Apache County Sheriff's Office included the following subdivisions along Hwys 180/191: Escudilla Mountain Estates, Bonita, White Mtn. Acres, and the H-V Ranch. This area includes CR 4000, CR 4001, and CR 4225.
Pre-Evacuation Advisories
· The pre-evacuation notice by the Apache County Sheriff's Office to the residents of Greer community and the surrounding areas remains in effect.
· Catron County Sheriff's Office has issued a pre-evacuation notice to the residents of Luna, New Mexico.

Fire Update
· Firefighters continue perimeter control in conjunction with San Carlos and Ft. Apache Indian reservations and continue point protection around values at risk.
· Storm and wind activity caused embers to spot over the U.S. Hwy. 191 resulting in a flurry of fire activity around Alpine and Nutrioso to include Escudilla Mountain .
· Structural protection and perimeter control continue in the evacuated communities.
· A red flag warning is in effect, 10 am - 8 pm with low humidity.
Closures:
Due to extreme fire conditions, the Apache National Forest is closed to all public entry. Property owners and their guests will continue to have access to private lands within the Forest. See website for closure order details. Please see the Forest website for more information: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf/

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Fire Restrictions: A Temporary Emergency Closure Order for the Apache National Forest was issued effective June 3 at 12:00 p.m. (noon). For more information, please call the Arizona fire restrictions hotline 1-877-864-6985 or visit http://www.wildlandfire.az.gov/.
MEDIA ADVISORY: Media should call 480-331-9554 to coordinate interviews or visit the Lead Media Public Information Officer outside the Joint Information Center at 940 E. Maricopa St. in Springerville.
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VIDEO: Arizona Wildfire Wallow OUT OF CONTROL Grows 40 Percent June 5 2011 SMOKES OUT Albuquerque NM 220 Miles Away
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 June 5, 2011 (2pm AZ Local time)
The Apache County Sheriff's Office has ordered the immediate evacuation of the following subdivisions along Hwy 180/191: Escudilla Mountain Estates, Bonita, Dog Patch, and the H-V Ranch. This area includes CR 4000, CR 4001 & CR 4225. This area is east of Hwy 180 and near the NM state line
CURRENT FIRE INFO LINK

Jun 5, 4:57 PM EDT

'Horrific' Ariz. fire blankets towns in smoky fog
REER, Ariz. (AP) -- A 225-square-mile blaze that has grown into the third-largest fire in Arizona's history covered a mountain vacation town in a smoky fog Sunday, as wind blew smoke from the burning pine forest well into nearby New Mexico and Colorado.
Crews have not contained the fire near the New Mexico-Arizona state line, which has forced residents to evacuate from several mountain towns.
In the vacation town of Greer, which has fewer than 200 year-round residents, many voluntarily left on Saturday. Those who remained, mostly business owners, dealt with haze heavily tinged with smoke on Sunday. Among them was the owner of the 101-year-old Molly Butler Lodge, who was hauling out his most valuable items.
Allan Johnson spent the morning getting antiques, including an 1886 table brought by covered wagon from Utah and a 1928 Oldsmobile the lodge uses for weddings, out of the fire's path. He said he was not taking reservations but was keeping open the restaurant, mainly as a meeting place.
Greer is within miles of the fire, which officials expect will grow given a windy forecast and expected dry lightning Sunday and Monday. If the blaze comes within two miles of a containment line nearby, the town will be evacuated.
"We're all waiting for the word," Johnson said. "It could be 24 hours, could be eight hours. It might not happen at all - that's what we're all rooting and praying for."
Winds died down overnight, allowing crews to burn 30 miles of containment lines between active and unburned areas that create a buffer from the most violent wind-driven runs.
"It gives a much greater chance of it having diminished fire behavior as it approaches the lines," fire information officer Peter Frenzen told The Associated Press. "And that's the concern, that you might get intense fire activity that might throw embers over the line and spot beyond our control lines."
On Saturday, Gov. Jan Brewer called the blaze "horrific" following an aerial tour and said it was "the likes of a fire of which I have never experienced from the air."
In Nutrioso, the blaze came within two miles of homes, and heavy yellowish smoke in Alpine reduced visibility to about a quarter mile. Smoke drifted into northwestern New Mexico towns such as Fence Lake and Zuni Pueblo, said National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Fetting, and was expected as far north as Gallup. The haze also could reach as far as Albuquerque by Monday.
Spokesman Brad Pitassi said 1,300 firefighters were at the blaze, including some "from Oregon all the way to New York."
Since the blaze started May 29, four summer rental cabins have been destroyed, the U.S. Forest Service said. No serious injuries have been reported.
The fire is the state's third-largest, behind a 2002 blaze that blackened more than 732 square miles and one in 2005 that burned about 387 square miles in the Phoenix suburb of Cave Creek.
The state also was contending with another major wildfire, its fifth-largest, in far southeastern Arizona that threatened a church camp and two communities. Air crews dumped water and retardant near the Methodist church camp Saturday as the 156-square-mile blaze burned around the evacuated camp in the steep Pine Canyon near the community of Paradise.
Paradise, as well as East Whitetail Canyon, was evacuated in advance and the nearby Chiricahua National Monument was closed as a precaution. Crews set backfires and kept the blaze from about a dozen occupied homes and other vacation residences Saturday.
"Paradise, even though they did protect it from the initial fire that passed by the day before yesterday, it's still not totally out of the woods," said Dave Killebrew, an information officer for the team battling the blaze.

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Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona is 3rd largest in state's history

www.abc15.com
June 5, 2011
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ALPINE, AZ - A wildfire in eastern Arizona near the town of Alpine has grown to 144,100 acres, fire officials said Sunday morning.
There are now approximately 1,300 personnel on scene.
Crews were working to protect homes in Alpine and nearby Nutrioso from the fire and blowing embers that could start smaller, spot fires. The fire had reached Alpine's outskirts and was about two miles away from homes in Nutrioso, said Bob Dyson, a spokesman for the team fighting the blaze.
Governor Jan Brewer traveled to Springerville Saturday afternoon to meet with fire officials. She also took an aerial tour of the fire scene to get an appreciation for its scope and size, said Matthew Benson, a spokesman for Brewer.
"It was horrific and the likes of a fire I've never experienced from the air before. It's quite humbling," Brewer said.
Current evacuations include the residents of Blue River, ordered by Greenlee County officials, adding the Greer community has also received a pre-evacuation notice.
Other areas that have been evacuated include Alpine, Nutrioso, Hannagan Meadow Lodge, Sprucedale Guest Ranch, Brentwood Church Camp, Hannagan campground, KP campground, West Fork Black River campground, and East Fork Black River campground, according to the Incident website.
Officials said the fire has cost $3 million to fight so far.
The fire remained zero-percent contained as of Sunday morning, officials said.
The Apache National Forest has been temporarily closed due to extreme fire conditions.
Friday, officials said a Verizon tower and radio repeater were damaged, along with a utility trailer and outbuilding in Alpine.
The U.S. Forest Service said Friday that four summer rental cabins burned in the Wallow wildfire, which was consuming dead and dry trees and brush in the White Mountains near the New Mexico border.
Smoke from the fire that started nearly a week ago is being carried all the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico, some 200 miles away.
The yellowish smoke in Alpine was so heavy that it reduced visibility to about a quarter mile.
The U.S. Forest Service says the Wallow Fire is the third largest wildfire in state history.
The biggest, the Rodeo-Chediski, burned 469,000 acres in 2002 and the Cave Creek complex fire burned 248,000 acres in 2005.
The Wallow fire just surpassed the Willow fire, which burned 120,000 acres in 2004.


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