Burn scars run risk of flash flooding

Posted at: 07/15/2013 6:28 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The National Weather Service said Monday that all burn scars statewide have a high risk of flash flooding. The Thompson Ridge Fire burn scar is one of those areas of concern. The fire took nearly a month to put out and by its end, spanned 23,000 acres of land.

Flash floods gushing from burn scars often poison water, killing fish and nearby animals. But like they did last year in Jemez Springs, they can make their way into town, too.

“The effect here locally, as far away as it was for Jemez Springs, the river itself would turn black,” Jemez Springs resident Michael Farber said. “I haven’t seen it much this year.”

That could change. Few areas have seen the tell-tale soot-colored water flowing through rivers that comes from burn scars yet, but the weather service says it’s on its way.

While any floods are a concern for drought-stricken New Mexico, burn scar floods can cause the worst kind of damage. 2011 floods from the Los Conchas scar wiped out an apple orchard. That business had to close. While people in flood-prone towns are always wary of water, this week is the time for even more precaution.