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Officials expected to close access to Santa Fe National Forest

May 30, 2018 GMT

The Santa Fe National Forest plans to close public access to forest lands at 8 a.m. Friday, spokesman Bruce Hill confirmed Wednesday.

The entire forest will enact Stage 3 fire restrictions, which means shutting down access to forest roads, trails and campgrounds for the first time since 2013, Hill said.

The official order to close the forest will come from Forest Supervisor James Melonas, Hill said. He said Melonas could sign the closure order as early as Wednesday afternoon.

Forest closures typically depend on factors like forest conditions, how well the public is following the forest’s rules related to fire restrictions and whether fires are raging in other areas, U.S. Forest service employees told The New Mexican earlier this month.

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The impending closures in the Santa Fe National Forest, Hill said, are mostly based on the very dry conditions.

“From what I’m gathering, public compliance overall has been pretty good,” Hill said. “It’s just that we’re now at that point where conditions are indicating that it’s too dry. We feel the need to go into Stage 3 restrictions until we start getting moisture.”