Nation

First fire, then floods in besieged Western states

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. — It has been more than a year since the enormous Waldo Canyon Fire roared across the slopes above the tourist town of Manitou Springs. But its burn scar is just beginning to recover, with little plant material — living or dead — to absorb this year’s late-summer rains.

So when a storm came on Aug. 9, drenching rain in the wildfire-blackened hills below Colorado’s Pikes Peak sent a torrent of rock and mud into the town. The runoff killed 53-year-old John Collins destroyed or damaged 36 homes, and engulfed half a dozen cars.

Advertisement

Wildfire burn scars have spawned flash floods up and down Colorado’s Front Range and in other Western states this summer, saddling communities with millions of dollars in cleanup costs.

‘‘I’m moving out,’’ Manitou Springs resident Donna Stone said. ‘‘It’s incomprehensible to me that I’d be safe here.’’

The threat lingers years after the flames have been extinguished and the human and property losses of fire have been tallied. In New Mexico, where fires have scorched more than 285 square miles of mountain slopes this year, flash floods killed fish and washed out roads in Pecos Canyon, a popular fishing area.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com