In May 2000, National Park Service workers intentionally set a fire on monument grounds to clear brush. The fire soon flared out of control and, strengthened by strong winds over several days, swept through nearby Los Alamos and surrounding communities. The fires caused extensive property damage and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents of those areas. In all the fire burned 19,440 ha (48,037 acres).
Bandelier National Monument, in northwestern New Mexico, 74 km (46 mi) west of Santa Fe, was established in 1916 and preserves a 13,629 ha (33,677-acre) site that contains the ruins ofAnasazi Indian cliff dwellings occupied from the 13th to the 16th century. The largest and most easily accessible ruins are multistory masonry structures in Frijoles Canyon, a deep and verdant gorge that extends across the northern portion of the monument. Caves cut in the soft volcanic rocks of the canyon walls formed the back rooms, used for storage, of one- and three-story masonry pueblos. On the floor of the canyon, at a nearly circular ruin named Tyuonyi, are the outlines of almost 250 ground-floor rooms. Most of the monument has been designated a wilderness area, so many of the outlying archaeological sites are accessible only by trail. More than 113 km (70 mi) of trails are maintained in the area. The monument was named in honor of Adolph Bandelier (1840 1914), a Swiss-American anthropologist. The visitor center displays the crops cultivated by the inhabitants, as well as the textiles and pottery they produced.