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Valles Caldera National Preserve expected to reopen today

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By The Staff

The Valles Caldera National Preserve was expected to resume its normal hours of operation and visitor services today, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., following the emergency closure prompted by the El Cajete Fire.

All summer activities were expected to be available to visitors, including the 35 daily backcountry vehicle permits issued on a first-come, first-served basis, Valles Caldera officials said in a release. Special-use permittees and commercial-use operators may resume their projects and business within the preserve, officials said.

However, all access to the Banco Bonito area of the preserve will remain closed until further notice. The area is still in use as a base camp by wildland firefighters.

National Park Service officials reminded those traveling to the preserve to be courteous and cautious of fire crews who are still working on the fire. Fire danger remains high, and visitors enjoying the Jemez Mountains should continue to be especially aware of fire safety.

“We are grateful to the local, state, and federal responders who have worked non-stop to protect life, property and the many other important values threatened by this fire,” said Jorge Silva-Bañuelos, the preserve’s superintendent. “We appreciate the public’s understanding and patience while the preserve was closed, and we are pleased to welcome visitors back.”