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Feds Blame Selves for N.M. Fires

May 18, 2000

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) _ The National Park Service officials who started the fire that devastated Los Alamos did not follow proper procedures and did not have enough fire crews on hand to keep the blaze under control, according to a preliminary investigation by the Interior Department.

Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., said today the investigation found flaws in the plan to burn underbrush at Bandelier National Monument. She also said it found that monument officials did not have weather reports that could have shown the fire was likely to get out of control.

``Basically, the Park Service screwed up bad, and I don’t know how it could be worse,″ Wilson said.

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