Smoke from the Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire Hangs Over the Area like a Thick Blanket of Fog During the Morning of 5/29/12. NPS Photo

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is closed effective May 31, 2012, to protect the health of the public and staff from the potentially harmful effects of smoke generated by the nearby Whitewater/Baldy fire. Superintendent Steve Riley announced today the monument will remain closed until conditions improve.

However, the nearby Gila Visitor Center will remain open each day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to provide current information to visitors unaware of the closure.

The New Mexico Department of Health and New Mexico Environment Department recently issued a smoke advisory for areas of New Mexico affected by smoke from wildfires in the Gila Wilderness in southwest New Mexico. Levels of smoke in the monument currently restricts visibility to less than one half mile and public health concerns remain the focus of operations there.

When weather and fire conditions improve so that smoke is not considered to be a health hazard, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument will reopen on a day-to-day basis which will be determined each morning. Visitors planning trips to the Monument in the near future should first call the visitor center at 575-536-9461 to get information on the latest conditions, or visit the park’s website

While current conditions exist, Cliff Dwellings National Monument will remain formally closed to the public persons entering the monument at any time during this closure are subject to ticketing and fines.

Source: NPS