New Mexico to get flood warning system

Jun 21, 2012

Emergency managers will have more time to warn residents living near the burn scar of a massive wildfire in southwestern New Mexico about flooding during the monsoon season. 

The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be purchasing eight early warning systems that will be placed within the perimeter of the Whitewater-Baldy fire. The blaze, the largest in New Mexico's recorded history, has charred more than 464 square miles. It's 87 percent contained.

The concern is that summer rains will wash down soil and debris from mountainsides left bare by the fire. Officials say communities downstream are at risk for flash flooding. A special team has surveyed the area and is working on a plan for mitigating flooding in the short term.

The U.S. Geological Survey will install and monitor the warning units.