Fires Hurting New Mexico Tourism

UPI: New Mexico's wildfires are causing tourists to stay away, officials said.

The massive Las Conchas fire has burned more than 70,000 acres and smoke drifting from the blaze is smelling up things in Santa Fe where the Santa Fe Opera is preparing to launch its summer series Friday, USA Today reported.

The already burning fires -- including the Los Alamos fire that forced the evacuation of the town -- and the threat of new ones is putting a damper on some summer travel over the July Fourth holiday, New Mexico officials said.

The fires, and the closure of some national forests and monuments has "a negative impact" on tourism in the area, Taos public relations director Cathy Connelly said.

"We're letting people know that they won't have access to the national forests at all," Connelly said. "You need to be honest with people about that before they get here … I haven't heard of a huge amount of people canceling."

From a historical perspective, "these big, severe fires are not unprecedented" in hot and dry intervals in the region, a geologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque told the Christian Science Monitor.

"But recent experience down here suggests that what we're looking at in the last few decades is at least as severe and maybe more so than anything we've seen since the last Ice Age," UNM geologist Grant Meyer said.


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