JEMEZ SPRINGS, N.M. (KRQE) - The Thompson Ridge Fire has pretty much stopped burning in the Jemez Mountains. Now comes a new focus and new worries.
How bad will the flooding be if and when heavy rains hit the burn area?
The Thompson Ridge Fire burned more than 23,000 acres in and near the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
Fire officials are especially concerned with areas left with severe burn scars.
Two main areas crews are focused on are the headquarters of the Valles Caldera's historic district where there are historic cabins and the Sulfur Creek and Elk Valley subdivisions.
Both those areas were heavily burned and have steep slopes that funnel water through them.
The Burned Area Response Team is now putting together its final treatment plan for the forest and for flood control.
These mountains are no stranger to fires and the floods that follow. Two years ago monsoons following the Las Conchas Fire blackened the Jemez River and Rio Grande with ash.
Floodwaters also wiped out the Dixon apple orchard in a canyon above Cochiti Lake.
Officials with the Valles Caldera, who have been part of the rehab plan, remain hopeful any flooding from the Thompson Ridge Fire won't be as significant as that from Las Conchas.
"We're very optimistic that recovery will be quicker, that there will be less ecological damage and a quicker, stronger recovery," said Marie Rodriguez of the Valles Caldera. "Most of these forests are mixed conifer forest, spruce and aspen forests.
"They've adapted to even small amounts of severe burning."
The burned-area rehab plan should be complete next week and will offer a better idea of the flood threats.
Residents living downstream from the fire including in Jemez Springs are all being told to watch the weather closely for monsoon storms and other systems that could spawn flash floods.
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