According to a local rancher, a man drowned on Sunday in northern New Mexico as a flash flood raced over a burn area left by the state’s largest recorded wildfire, the fourth such death in just over two weeks.

A stream of water carried the man’s pickup truck off highway 434 around 2 p.m., roughly nine miles northeast of Mora, according to Kenny Zamora, who said the man’s vehicle was discovered on his ranch.

“The water was so strong it pushed him into the arroyo,” Zamora explained, referring to a normally dry riverbed that runs during heavy rain.

A request for comment from the New Mexico State Police was not immediately returned.

The claimed occurrence comes after three individuals were killed in flash flooding on July 21 in a burn region near Las Vegas, New Mexico.

It was the fifth flash flood to hit Zamora’s ranch, he claimed.

The intense heat from the Hermit’s Peak Calf Canyon wildfire rendered soil unable to absorb water, transforming hillsides into life-threatening debris floods during summer monsoon rains.

The wildfire and ensuing water have wreaked havoc on a 45-mile stretch of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains northeast of Santa Fe, consuming an area the size of Los Angeles.

Since April, when two federally prescribed fires ran out of control, the climate-driven conflagration has burned almost 430 homes.

Source: Reuters

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