State Deploying All Available Resources To Mitigate Flood Danger In New Mexico Communities Affected By Wildfires

STATE News:

...Residents encouraged to take steps to prepare

SANTA FE – The state, in close coordination with local and federal partners, continues to take action to prepare and protect communities who may be affected by above-average flooding during the monsoon season.

Communities on and downstream from the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon, McBride and Cerro Pelado fires are especially at risk for flash flooding, as burned areas are unable to absorb rainfall which can result in large amounts of water and debris being carried downstream.

Risk will be variable across all fires and will change throughout the rainy season. Please follow National Weather Service updates and local weather reports for up-to-date information.

Rainfall has occurred in burn scar areas throughout the week, but no severe flooding or damage has been reported. However, as soil becomes saturated, the potential for flash flooding increases. Residents should remain vigilant as the monsoon season progresses.

These areas should operate under the “Prepare, Watch, Warning” flood warning system:

Preparing:

  • Monitor TV, radio, reliable social media channels, and phones for real-time weather
  • Ensure your phone is enabled to receive emergency alerts
  • Identify higher ground
  • Plan your evacuation route or routes
  • Call 800-432-2080 if you know you will need assistance should an evacuation be needed (for example, elderly, disabled or no transportation)
  • Have an emergency supply kit ready to go with enough supplies to last each family member at least 3 days, including:  
    • Food and water
    • Change of clothes
    • Important documents
    • Medicine
    • Pet supply needs

Watch:

  • Place all identified items in vehicles in preparation for evacuations
  • Follow local media, local flooding alerts, and county emergency notifications

Warning: 

  • Evacuate immediately if told to do so by local officials
  • If evacuation is not possible, seek higher ground – walk upslope or get on the roof  if necessary  
  • DO NOT attempt to cross flooded roadways on foot or in a vehicle. If you come across a flooded roadway, turn around and search for higher ground

Keep in mind: conditions may change rapidly. If you feel that it is time to evacuate, do so immediately, regardless of receiving notification from officials.  

Residents in the area may check the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon post-fire planning map here for information about their flood notification status. This map is continually being refined to increase specificity.

In preparation for flooding, residents may use sandbags to prevent water from entering structures. A video on how to use sandbags is available here. Most homes will only need between 25 and 40 sandbags for adequate protection. Sandbags are useful in low-flow situations and will not protect your home in the case of heavy flooding – you should still evacuate immediately if told to do so.

The Department of Transportation and National Guard are working to provide sandbags to residents at multiple locations in San Miguel and Mora counties and have already delivered 2,000 tons of sand and distributed nearly 100,000 sandbags.  

Work to protect infrastructure and remove debris that could be carried by floodwaters is ongoing. State agencies, as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are actively working to clear out culverts and bridge areas of debris.  

This group also is placing boulders and barriers in strategic locations to mitigate flash flooding.

LOS ALAMOS

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