Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument Temporarily Closed for Public Health and Safety and Johnson Fire Operations

Mimbres, NM, June 3, 2021—The Johnson Fire on the Gila National Forest is burning within the boundaries of the Gila Wilderness. The National Park Service is closing the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (Cliff Dwellings) effective 8:00 a.m. Saturday, June 5, 2021 and shall remain in effect until rescinded. 

The Cliff Dwellings are being closed while fire managers implement a burn-out operation for the Johnson Fire.  A copy of the closure order is included with this release and will be posted on both the Gila NF website and the Cliff Dwellings website (  The burn-out will occur west of the Cliff Dwellings in the Gila Wilderness along EE Canyon Trail 163. Burning out is a fire suppression operation where fire is set along the inside edge of a control line or natural barrier to consume unburned fuel between the line and the fire perimeter. This reinforces a fire control line and speeds up control efforts.  The purpose of the burn-out is to reduce the risk of the Johnson Fire moving toward the Cliff Dwellings and the community of Gila Hot Springs. 

During the burn-out operations access to the Cliff Dwellings will be restricted to fire personnel only and there will be a temporary road closure at the junction of NM Hwy 15 and the road leading to Cliff Dwellings Contact Center. 

Along with the closure of the Cliff Dwellings, the Middle Fork Trail #157 has now been added to the list of trail closures.  This trail closure extends from the Middle Fork Trailhead near the Gila Visitor Center to The Meadows at the junction of Meadows Trail #53.   There are trail closures in the area west of the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Know before you go and check out maps and fire information on Inciweb at

The reason for these closures is for visitor health and safety, and to allow firefighters to work unimpeded by visitor use while they are managing the Johnson Fire.   

For further information on these closures, alternate routes through the Gila Wilderness, or fire updates call 575-536-2250 (M-F 8:00 – 4:00 p.m.) or 575-519-0103 (any time between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.). The number for the Gila Cliff Dwellings is 575-536-9461 and their voicemail will be active, and calls will be returned.

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