Carlsbad Caverns Fire Totals 17,000 Acres

Staff Report
The Associated Press

CARLSBAD CAVERNS NATIONAL PARK, N.M. (AP) - Fire crews are working on containment lines around the northwest part of a 17,235-acre fire burning on Carlsbad Caverns National Park to protect oil and gas facilities on Bureau of Land Management property.

The so-called New Fire was started by lightning on May 16, and is now 50 percent contained.

Fire officials say crews are patrolling and monitoring fire lines on the east side of the blaze.

The New Fire is burning grass and shrubs in steep, inaccessible terrain on the west side.

Park officials say the main cave at Carlsbad Caverns remains open, but all backcountry trails are closed for public safety.