Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher is a journalist based in Santa Fe. He has worked for newspapers in New Mexico and his home state of Kansas, including the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Garden City Telegram, the Rio Grande SUN and the Santa Fe Reporter. Since starting a full-time career in reporting in 2015, he’s aimed to use journalism to lift up voices that typically go unheard in public debates around economic inequality, policing and environmental racism.

FEMA finalizes rules for paying nearly $4 billion to Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon Fire victims 

By: and - August 29, 2023

Finalized rules governing how victims of the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire can file claims for damages went into effect Tuesday, providing a roadmap for how compensation will be paid to victims of a wildfire started by the United States Forest Service last spring. One of the biggest questions the new regulations answer is how victims […]

Albuquerque chose not to send out a mass alert about the plastic fire

By: - August 25, 2023

As the Atkore United Poly Systems fire was burning in southeast Albuquerque, Dr. Johnnye Lewis was receiving calls from people living in the Nob Hill neighborhood about six miles to the north wondering why their throats were burning.  They told her they received no alerts about the plastic fire because they had not opted into […]

Patients asked a CDC advisory panel to be more transparent. Then their comments disappeared.

By: - August 24, 2023

Patients and advocates for protecting against SARS-CoV-2, the airborne virus which causes COVID-19, asked a federal advisory panel on Tuesday to open up the process it uses to develop guidelines for controlling infectious disease followed by health facilities across the United States. After inviting public comments and hearing some speak for less than an hour […]

Charles Sallee promoted to new director of NM Legislative Finance Committee 

By: - August 17, 2023

A panel of New Mexico lawmakers on Thursday morning voted unanimously to hire Charles Sallee to lead the agency that independently analyzes bills and advises lawmakers and state officials on the state government’s budget. Sallee had been the Legislative Finance Committee’s deputy director since 2010, after five years as a program evaluator in the Roundhouse. […]

Albuquerque plastic fire gives air regulators opportunity ‘to make the right decision’

By: - August 17, 2023

Richard Moore started getting phone calls from his neighbors in the South Valley on Aug. 6. He followed the path of the smoke, and decided to go up to Mesa del Sol where the Atkore United Poly Systems fire was still burning. Ten days after the plastic fire, there has still been no official report […]

‘It smelled like plastic. That creates a memory’

By: and - August 16, 2023

Celerah Hewes lives in southeast Albuquerque. On Aug. 6, she was driving home from the grocery store and happened to see the smoke plume from the Atkore United Poly Systems fire. “Otherwise I would never have known,” she said. “I would have stayed in my house, my swamp cooler on, and maybe had no idea […]

Burned plastic, metal, fuels released into Albuquerque sky by fire at plastic facility 

By: - August 15, 2023

Just over one week after hundreds of tons of plastic, and thousands of gallons of fuel burned out of control for hours on a windy afternoon in southeast Albuquerque, there has been no full public accounting of the fire’s environmental effects. The smoke plume that could be seen for miles on Aug. 6 was the […]

During visit to NM, locals demand President Biden phase out fossil fuels

By: - August 10, 2023

LOS LUNAS, N.M. — Hours before President Joe Biden visited a small town in central New Mexico to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the signature legislative achievement of his first term as president, a group of climate activists unfurled banners urging him to phase out fossil fuels. At the turnoff to the Valencia county seat […]

Three years later, health problems linger for La Jornada shooting victim 

By: - August 4, 2023

Content warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of gun violence. Scott Williams walks with a slight limp. It always seems like his right foot feels asleep. He no longer has good dreams, and feels tense around large crowds of people. These are the lingering health effects for Williams, more than three years after Steven Ray […]

UNM, Bernalillo County officials say health care at the jail will improve

By: - August 3, 2023

After years of inadequate medical care, numerous deaths and countless cases of incarcerated people’s illnesses being neglected at New Mexico’s largest jail, local officials say they expect things to improve with University of New Mexico Hospital staff replacing the private contractors who had worked there. The contract between the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Center and the […]

They were handing out free masks outside an Albuquerque hospital. Then security stepped in. 

By: - August 1, 2023

On a hot Saturday afternoon, five people stood outside the main entrance of Presbyterian Hospital in downtown Albuquerque. By the hospital’s revolving entrance door, the group called MaskBlocABQ, a mutual aid network that distributes face masks and advocates for mitigations against COVID-19, placed a box of masks labeled in thick black marker “FREE.”  They held […]

People held in NM women’s prison never notified about bacteria found in drinking water

By: - July 28, 2023

People incarcerated at a state prison in northeastern New Mexico were never officially notified about dangerous bacteria found in their drinking water, according to court records and emails obtained by Source NM. Springer Correctional Center officials have since fixed the water problem first reported in June, and the water is safe to drink, according to […]