Agencies prepare for pilgrimage

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As thousands of pilgrims prepare for their journey to El Santuario de Chimayó in Santa Fe County, state, local and federal emergency response agencies are preparing for their arrival. Twenty-six entities, following the National Incident Management System, have collaborated to help prepare for and respond to any potential disaster in the area.
Public safety is of the utmost concern and pilgrims and motorists should be mindful of the many dangers involved during the pilgrimage and what they can do to mitigate them. Walkers should be dressed for a variety of weather conditions, wear bright and reflective clothing, walk on one side of the roadway, stay hydrated and be very mindful of traffic. Motorists should reduce speed as they encounter pilgrims, heed the messages of electronic message boards and road signs and expect the unexpected.
Laws and regulations will be enforced to help protect the safety of pilgrims and motorists. Motorists are advised that parking on Juan Medina Road in Chimayó will not be allowed and violators may be cited and their vehicles towed. The regulation against roadside vending will also be enforced. Because of the extreme fire danger, no open burning is permitted and everyone should be careful in their disposal of cigarette butts and matches.
A rest area will be provided for pilgrims on the evening of Thursday and all day Friday. Rio Arriba County will have the La Arboleda Community Center located at 694 N.M. 76 serve as a resting point for pilgrims walking to the Santuario.