Summer doesn’t officially arrive for another five days, but the western U.S. is hot.

So hot that the heat advisory listings on the website read like a telephone directory: Lake County, California, up to 109 degrees through Saturday; Grand Junction, Colorado, up to 109 degrees; San Francisco Bay area, up to 102; Phoenix, Arizona, could hit 118 after two days at 115.

Updated June 17, 2021 at 4:28 PM ET

President Biden on Thursday signed a bill to recognize Juneteenth — the celebration to commemorate the end of chattel slavery in the United States — as a federal holiday.

Federal employees will observe the holiday for the first time on Friday.

Here's Hollis Walker, opinion editor of the Durango Herald, with the 19th commentary in the series FOCUS 2021, Healing the Rift: "Our View: Race-norming."

Durango Interagency Dispatch

8:00 PM Evening Update from La Plata County spokesperson Sarah Jacobson: The Vosburg Pike Fire is now approximately 70 acres and 75% contained due to hard work by many agencies including Upper Pine Fire Protection District, Durango Fire Protection District, United States Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.  A large air tanker, Chinook helicopter, smaller helicopter and two single-engine air tankers have been dropping fire retardant and water, while engine crews, hand crews and a bulldozer were used to build and strengthen fire lines around the fire. Fire comm

Shoppers and diners are slowly returning to Albuquerque's trendy Nob Hill neighborhood.

It's a welcome sign to Mike and Kathy Holmberg of Arizona, who are on their first visit back to New Mexico since the start of the pandemic. They typically spend summers here in the mountains where it's cooler. But the couple also noticed New Mexico feels much more cautious than Arizona. Restaurants here still require customers to give their name and phone number for contact tracing. Businesses still operate under strict capacity limits.

La Plata County and the San Juan National Forest fire management staff are implementing Stage 1 Fire Restrictions on all national forest lands effective at midnight on Wednesday, June 16th. KSUT’s Sarah Flower reports:

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

We compiled a list of links to local, regional, and national fire agencies. You can track active wildfires, smoke effects, and see fire forecasts. Also included is information on wildfire science and adopting fire safety principles.

Restrictions for the San Juan go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, June 16 and at 6:00 a.m. the same day for the tribe.

More than 15 months since the first confirmed death due to COVID-19 in the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 600,000 lives across the country.

But that trend has slowed from thousands to hundreds per day in recent weeks, thanks largely to the ready availability of vaccines.

Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia Commons

A senior Colorado Parks and Wildlife manager has been reinstated after a 12-week investigation into a whistleblower's allegations that he tried to sabotage the voter-directed reintroduction of wolves -- using tactics that included hiring an outside group to post videos on YouTube and Facebook targeting pro-wolf state commissioners.


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