- Associated Press - Thursday, June 14, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico’s most populous county is closing open space areas on the east side of the Sandia Mountains due to high fire danger.

The closures in Bernalillo County mark the latest as national forests and state parks in New Mexico and elsewhere across the West have been put off limits as dry conditions and the threat of wildfire persist.

The Bernalillo County closures will take effect Friday and will remain in place until the area receives a significant amount of moisture and the danger decreases.

County Fire Marshal Keith Clark says the idea is to reduce the likelihood of a human-caused fire.

The federal drought map released Thursday shows extreme and exceptional drought - the two worst categories - have a solid footing throughout the American Southwest.

Some rain is expected in the coming days, but forecasters warn that it won’t be enough to erase the drought.

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