Home New mexico state Two dead after flash flooding in New Mexico wildfire zone

Two dead after flash flooding in New Mexico wildfire zone

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TAOS, NM, July 22 (Reuters) – Two women have died and a man is missing near Las Vegas, New Mexico, after a flash flood swept through a scorched area left behind by the largest wildfire on record in the state, officials said Friday.

The three people were connected to Camp Blue Haven, a Christian outdoor activity center for children located about 10 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Cabo Lucero Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tim Nix said. .

The deaths were the first linked to the Hermit’s Peak Calf Canyon fire. Forest floors baked by the intense fire no longer absorb water, and the mountainsides have turned to ash and debris flows during recent storms.

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The women’s bodies were found Thursday along the banks of Tecolote Creek, which runs through Camp Blue Haven, the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Police located an overturned vehicle in the creek with no one inside, the statement said.

“We are looking for a third person,” Nix said. “They are all camp-related.”

News channel KOB4 broadcast video on Thursday of a torrent of black, ash-choked water flowing through the center of Camp Blue Haven. The camp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The wildfire and subsequent flooding devastated a 45-mile strip of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains northeast of Santa Fe, where an area the size of Los Angeles burned.

More than 430 homes have been destroyed, roads swept away and farmland covered in debris flows since the blaze began in April when two federal prescribed fires spiraled out of control.

On Friday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham asked President Joe Biden to extend coverage to 100% of federal costs for protection works and debris removal to cover flooding.

“The ongoing damage is the result of U.S. Forest Service prescribed burns,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

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Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Editing by Alistair Bell and Sam Holmes

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