Everglades fire spread by wind

MIAMI - The Everglades wildfire burning in southwest Miami-Dade County continued to spread yesterday, scorching thousands more acres. Other bad news: The winds are not helping. Steady southwesterly winds are blowing thick, smoky haze and the smell of fire over Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

"Unfortunately, the winds will continue sending the smoke over the metropolitan area," said Bob Ebaugh, a weather service specialist said yesterday. That could continue through Wednesday - if the fires don't let up. "There could be some respites when afternoon sea breezes move in."

Officials warned the heavy smoke could pose health hazards, although the wildfire did not pose any immediate threat to residential property, according to state fire officials.

The Everglades fire has been burning since Wednesday and had spread to 32,820 acres by yesterday morning, according to national park officials.

- McClatchy Newspapers

Border officer facing charges

SAN DIEGO - A Customs and Border Protection officer is accused of conspiring to smuggle drugs and illegal immigrants. The FBI said Luis Francisco Alarid was arrested Friday night and is due to make an initial appearance today before a federal magistrate judge. He is being held at a San Diego jail.

Customs and Border Protection spokesman Vince Bond said the officer, 31, was placed on paid leave. He has worked at the Otay Mesa border crossing near Tijuana, Mexico.

The FBI and Customs and Border Protection declined to elaborate on the case. No one answered the phone at a San Diego-area listing for a Luis Alarid.

- AP

Texas custody cases are split

SAN ANTONIO - The more than 400 children, from newborns to teens, forced from a polygamist sect's sprawling ranch during a raid six weeks ago and into foster care, so far have been treated as a single group of abused and at-risk kids.

Starting today, judges will filter the chaotic custody dispute into hundreds of individual cases to determine what the parents must do to get their children back or whether their parental rights will be permanently severed.

State District Judge Barbara Walther, who ruled last month that the children should be placed in foster care, will hear cases with the help of four other judges.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Boulder, Colo., police

said a security company supervisor and a restaurateur shot each other with Tasers in a confrontation Saturday over parking. Officers said neither man needed medical attention, but Harvey Epstein, co-owner of Mamacitas restaurant, was arrested on suspicion of felony menacing and using a stun gun.

Two people were killed

Saturday in the Washington state resort community of Stehekin when a float plane carrying five people crashed into Lake Chelan in the North Cascades, authorities said. Three people survived the crash of the single-engine DeHavilland Beaver, which went down soon after takeoff from the town of Chelan, said FAA spokesman Mike Fergus.