It is fire season in the heart of New Mexico, and due to our drought, there will be many more to come. Here is an update on the Carlsbad Caverns fire.
CARLSBAD, N.M. – A 16,000-acre wildfire sparked Monday, forcing the evacuation and closure of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
The fire and subsequent smoke forced the evacuation of park visitors and employees. About 250 people were in the caverns at the time of the evacuation. Carlsbad Caverns will reopen when conditions are safe.
Twenty-two structures, including the visitors’ center, are threatened. Park housing and White City, N.M., are also threatened at this time.
The cause of the fire is not known.
U.S. Highway 62/180 is closed from Dark Canyon Road to the state line due to burnout operations that are being conducted to keep the fire from crossing the highway . Dark Canyon Road is also closed at Highway 137 and Hidalgo Road.
Smoke from the fire will impact the communities of White City, Carlsbad, Artesia and surrounding areas. Take precautions if you have any health or respiratory issues.
Update from KOAT News 7 | 4:27 pm MDT June 14, 2011