Most of the time, visitors are greeted with stunning sights and picture perfect scenery. However, this summer, park rangers have been warning people about the increased threat of fire danger.
At Mesa Verde National Park in southwest Colorado, visitors are warned when they enter the park. An electronic sign saying 'Wildfire Danger' is scrolling at the entrance.
"It seems to come in waves," said Cliff Spencer, the Superintendent of Mesa Verde National Park.
On an average summer day more than 3,000 people visit the park.
A few weeks ago, the Weber fire crept within four miles of the park.
"We kept in contact with firefighters daily for updates," Spencer said. "But, we never had to close the park."
Since 1996, wildfires have burned 40 percent of the park's acreage. The worst happened in 2000 with the Bercher fire.
"It caused an evacuation in the park," Spencer said. "We had to evacuate the visitors."
The park has an evacuation plan in place, which has proven to clear out the entire park in a little more than an hour's time.
"It's a pretty swift plan," Spencer said.
In 2002, they used the plan again during the Long Mesa fire, which threatened to burn the famous Spruce Tree house and the park's headquarters. Fortunately, it didn't. But, it did uncover a buried treasure.
"On the other side it uncovered quite a few archaeological sites," Spencer said. "So, now we know we have over 5,000 archaeological sites in the park."
When a normal wildfire burns around Colorado, firefighters say it will take about a century for that land to restore itself and return to normal. At Mesa Verde National Park, park rangers say it will take longer. They say it will take approximately 300 years because the land is so sensitive.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)