Feds plan public land closures in New Mexico amid fire fears

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Federal authorities are restricting access to multiple wilderness areas in northern New Mexico amid potential wildfire concerns.

The U.S. Forest Service says Santa Fe National Forest will close at 8 a.m. Friday. It’s the first national forest closure for New Mexico this season, while portions of national forests in neighboring Arizona already have closed.

Portions of three national park sites in New Mexico also will be off limits starting midnight Friday. The National Park Service announced backcountry within Bandelier National Monument, Pecos National Historical Park and Valles Caldera National Preserve will be closed.

The parks’ visitor centers will remain open. People can still hike parts of Bandelier and Pecos.

But Valles Caldera is suspending access to all fishing, horseback riding, biking and hiking, with the exception of ranger-led tours and hikes.