Lincoln County, NM (July 6, 2012): Increased Water Flows Seen Downstream of Bonito Lake Thursday
1-2 inches of rain fell Thursday in the general vicinity of the Little Bear Fire burn area producing heavy flows of water in some rivers, creeks, streams and canyons. Flooding was seen in Kraut Canyon and some others that are usually dry. A break in the rain over night allowed water to recede from the affected waterways. More rain is expected today and flash flooding is possible. The Lincoln County Watershed Protection & Restoration group is out in force again this morning clearing debris out of affected waterways to minimize the impacts of fire debris compromising critical infrastructure. There have been no reports of injuries or damage to homes. All evacuations were temporary and limited.
First Christian Church on Hull Road has made themselves available to take evacuees if any evacuations are issued today. The Lincoln County Emergency Services will be monitoring waterways as rain starts to fall throughout the county and will notify residents as necessary of any developing hazardous situations
County road crews are clearing flood debris from roads in Sierra Vista, Sun Valley and on Bonito Lake Road. Roads above Bonito Lake and at Monjeau continue to be littered with debris. Bridges throughout the county held well during this rain event.
Residents are being urged to keep an eye on the weather by monitoring NOAA weather radio or http://www.srh.noaa.gov/abq/ and to be aware of the effects of rain falling upstream. Sustained heavy rain over the burn area can cause an increase in water flow many miles downstream. Water flows coming from the Little Bear Fire burn area will be full of ash and debris making them heavier and more dangerous.
Consider evacuation routes that avoid main roads at the bottoms of canyons which can unexpectedly flood. DO NOT drive through any flooded area. Waters may be full of silt which is extremely slick and can quickly cause loss of traction. You will not be able to see through flood waters carrying ash and debris to determine whether the roadway is intact.
DO NOT drive through any flooded area
Homeowners are being urged to keep culverts on their private property free of debris and to move animals, equipment and anything that could be carried downstream by flood waters to higher ground NOW. Alert systems are in place but you may have only a short time to respond once an evacuation notice is issued. It is the landowners personal responsibility to clear debris from private property.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Upper Hondo Soil and Water Conservation District are teaming up to help landowners restore burned areas and minimize erosion and flooding. Native Grass Seed to cover 1 acre is available free of charge at the Upper Hondo SWCD office in Capitan, 516 W. 1st St. (Hwy 380), 354-2220, across from the Capitan High School. Mulch is also available (as much as you need) at the Capitan UHSWCD office, at the Little Bear Recovery Center on Highway 48 between MM 14 and 15, and at the entrance to The Ranches of Sonterra, Unit 1, Villa Madonna, and Nazarene Church Camp (Bonita Park).
New Mexico State Forestry is now taking orders for Fall delivery of 1 and 2 year old seedlings from their New Mexico Conservation Seedlings program. Native trees and shrubs are available for a very reasonable price. Go to their webpage at www.nmforestry.com to order on line or call 505-476-3325 to have information mailed to you.