Las Conchas fire containment made easier by rain, but flash flood warning in effect
The Las Conchas Fire has burned 147,642 acres and is 50 percent contained as of Monday afternoon, according to InciWeb. Rain this week and the monsoon season into September will speed the containment of the fire, but the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo Mountains are also under a Flash Flood Watch. Without vegetation, fast-moving water during torrential downpours increases the likelihood and severity of a mudslide.
More from CNN:
“There’s no vegetation left on the landscape to keep the water in place when the monsoon hits,” Broyles [a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Interior's Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation team] said.
Jones added, in an e-mail to CNN, that “severely burned soil can be a water repellent” and effectively act like pavement, with water quickly flowing over it and bringing ash, silt, sand and assorted debris along with it.
“(Those mudslides) then may damage or destroy culverts, bridges, roads and buildings, potentially causing injury or death,” he explained.