Updated: June 27, 2011 4:59PM
BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT, N.M. — A wildfire that broke out west of Bandelier National Monument is threatening the renovated visitor center.
Los Alamos County fire chief Doug Tucker says the fire that broke out Sunday has the potential to grow much larger than its current 44,000 acres and is within a half-mile of Bandelier.
The blaze already has forced the closure of the monument that’s nestled among pine trees and canyons south of Los Alamos. Los Alamos itself was ordered evacuated on Monday.
Officials unveiled the $4 million renovated visitor center last August after nearly a decade of careful consultation with neighboring pueblos and a year of construction. The celebration included a high-definition documentary with pueblo dancers and artists.
Tucker says the National Park Service is removing some artifacts from the monument as a precaution.