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.

Wildfire caused air pollution in Las Vegas to reach nine times the healthy limit

By: - June 6, 2022

As harsh winds spread the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire across more than 100,000 acres and authorities ordered residents to evacuate at the beginning of May, wildfire smoke filled the air with pollution that went far beyond healthy limits for 10 straight days. A consumer-grade air quality monitor installed on 8th Street in Las Vegas, New […]

COVID cases and hospitalizations rise, while NM health officials remain mostly quiet

By: - June 2, 2022

As the third year of the COVID pandemic drags on, it’s more difficult to get timely, reliable information about viral spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New Mexico Department of Health are still using the new pastel green “community level” map, which does not recommend universal masking anywhere in New Mexico. […]

State launches infant formula website and crowdsourcing campaign

By: - May 27, 2022

As the United States continues to experience a shortage of infant formula, New Mexico officials on Friday launched a new website where parents and caregivers of infants can find infant formula supplies. is meant to provide medically reliable information for families with questions about how to ensure their children receive proper nutrition, acting Department […]

Calf Canyon wildfire also caused by a prescribed burn, investigators say

By: - May 27, 2022

A federal forestry agency is claiming responsibility for igniting both of the blazes that merged to become the historic wildfire burning in northern New Mexico today. The cause of the Calf Canyon wildfire in April was a prescribed pile burn the U.S. Forest Service lit in January, the agency’s own investigators announced Friday morning. They […]

Public lands commissioner pledged to refuse fossil fuel money, opponent hasn’t raised any

By: - May 27, 2022

With the climate crisis intensifying wildfires in New Mexico and across the West, one candidate for public lands commissioner pledged to refuse any money from extractive industries. The other appears to have not raised any money at all. Northern New Mexico has had days that are 15 degrees Fahrenheit above normal temperatures for this time […]

The air we breathe: Coronavirus and smoke in wildfire zones

By: - May 27, 2022

How do you respond to a global pandemic of a deadly airborne virus and out-of-control wildfires, two different but related crises, happening at the same time? The answer depends on who you ask. For state and federal officials running the evacuation shelters operating in northern New Mexico, it means offering testing and vaccines, and encouraging […]

Mutual aid efforts ahead of the state on COVID and wildfires

By: - May 25, 2022

As coronavirus surges and wildfires grow, local community mutual aid organizers in New Mexico have responded much differently than state officials. Rather than placing responsibility on individuals, Indigenous-led mutual aid groups approach the pandemic, and now the 2022 wildfire season, with the understanding that public health is a matter of community responsibility. To understand how […]

Students fleeing from wildfires hold on to what little normal is left

By: - May 24, 2022

In the dining area of the disaster recovery center in Glorieta on Friday, Amory Ling and other students from United World College were carrying on an old unofficial student-run tradition: At the end of the school year, everyone buys their country’s flag, and then writes messages on each other’s flags. It’s personally important to Ling […]

COVID spreading in NM disaster centers

By: - May 23, 2022

As coronavirus cases surge in New Mexico, people fleeing the biggest wildfire in the state’s history have been staying at disaster recovery centers. Few wear masks, and efforts to ventilate and filtrate the indoor air are spotty, leaving evacuees more prone to catch the virus — and breathe in dangerous particles from the smoke. Some […]

Federal relief ‘not meant to make individuals whole,’ FEMA official says

By: - May 18, 2022

As many as 1,500 buildings have been destroyed, and more than 10,000 people have fled from the wildfire burning in northern New Mexico, according to the governor, but it’s unlikely that those people will get their homes or livelihoods back without some kind of successful joint effort by Congress and state officials. As of Tuesday, […]

COVID cases now rising across NM in part because fewer people wear masks indoors, LANL scientists say

By: - May 17, 2022

Most people in New Mexico are now living in areas with climbing rates of new cases of COVID-19, according to the latest modeling by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In the first week of May, nearly 1.5 million New Mexicans were living in counties where there were between 10 and 99 cases per capita […]

FEMA opens disaster recovery centers in Las Vegas and Glorieta

By: - May 16, 2022

Federal authorities opened two disaster recovery centers over the weekend as Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon Fire grew to become the largest in New Mexico’s recorded history.  The centers are meant to help New Mexicans who are surviving the wildfires blazing across parts of the state. As many as 20 were burning around the state in a […]