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.

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 […]

Families sue the state and health care companies over lack of care for medically fragile children

By: - May 11, 2022

Caleb Vaughan is a 3-year-old from Sandia Park, N.M. On paper, he is disabled and medically vulnerable. He has Down Syndrome, a serious seizure disorder, developmental delays and depends on a gastronomy tube to live. But off his medical diagnosis sheet, Caleb’s parents describe a delightful young man who will suffer seizures for a moment […]

Demonstrators demand immediate review of COVID vaccine for youngest children in the U.S.

By: - May 10, 2022

About 20 organizers, parents and their children rallied outside the headquarters of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday to demand COVID-19 vaccinations for children under 5-years-old without delay. A brass band joined the protest and even played “Baby Shark Dance” for the young demonstrators, said Amanda Makulec, an organizer with Protect Their Future, […]

Vigil for the missing and stolen reclaims Santa Fe Plaza

By: - May 6, 2022

Hundreds of people packed the Santa Fe Plaza on Thursday night to recite names of missing and murdered Indigenous relatives from New Mexico and Arizona, and to reclaim the sacred nature of what has become a popular tourist destination. Three Sisters Collective Co-Founder Christina Castro led the crowd in reciting the names while facing in […]

Small particles from wildfire smoke can lodge deep within your lungs, aerosol scientist explains

By: - May 5, 2022

Hermits Peak is one of Alex Huffman’s favorite hikes in the world. He grew up and spends time in the mountains outside of Las Vegas in northern New Mexico. His family has had a cabin in nearby Gallinas Canyon since before he was born. “Some of my earliest memories are there,” he said. “That’s where […]