US: Fourth person reported drowned in flash floods post-wildfire

Over 430 homes have been destroyed since the climate-driven blaze started in April



Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

By Reuters

Published: Mon 8 Aug 2022, 12:18 PM

On Sunday, a man drowned in northern New Mexico, when a flash flood swept through a burn area left by the state’s largest recorded wildfire, according to a local rancher, marking the fourth such death reported in just over two weeks.

At about 2pm, a torrent of water carried the man's pickup truck off Highway 434, about 14.8km northeast of the town of Mora, according to Kenny Zamora, who said that the man's vehicle was found on his ranch.

"The water was so strong it pushed him into the arroyo," said Zamora, using the term for a (usually-dry) riverbed that runs during heavy rain.

The New Mexico State Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The reported incident follows the deaths of three people after flash flooding on July 21, partly in the burn area near the town of Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Zamora said it was the fifth flash flood to hit his ranch.

Intense heat from the so-called Hermit's Peak Calf Canyon wildfire left soil unable to absorb water, turning hillsides into life-threatening debris flows during monsoon rains in summer.

The wildfire and subsequent flooding has left devastation up a 45-mile swathe of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains northeast of Santa Fe where an area the size of Los Angeles has burned down.

Over 430 homes have been destroyed since the climate-driven blaze started in April when two federal prescribed fires went out of control.

ALSO READ:


More news from Americas