Wildfire Changes Landscape at Carlsbad Park

Staff Report
The Associated Press

CARLSBAD CAVERNS NATIONAL PARK, N.M. (AP) - Visitors are returning to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, but the scenery along the winding road to park headquarters looks a lot different due to a wildfire that raced through the area.

The Loop fire has burned more than 30,400 acres since starting Monday afternoon.

Crews had the blaze 70 percent contained by mid Thursday and were confident the lines they had built and back-burn operations done over the last two days would withstand the afternoon winds.

Parks officials and visitors who stopped by Thursday say the crews did a good job protecting the visitors center, employee housing and the natural cave entrance.

Park management assistant Paula Bauer says there are pockets of green but much of the vegetation along the highway leading to the heart of the park was black.