In New Mexico, Trying to Capitalize on Natural Beauty as Climate Change Disrupts It – The New York Times

by | Dec 10, 2022 | Climate Change

The Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon fires started in April, after the U.S. Forest Service conducted what was supposed to have been a controlled burn to thin the dense undergrowth. High winds whipped both fires into a megacomplex that ultimately torched 342,000 acres across three counties, and wasn’t fully controlled until mid-August.Then came the flooding. With no trees to hold back the mountains, monsoon season sent rivers of sediment coursing through the gulleys, spilling over roads and onto the homes below. Irrigation channels have been filled with dirt and rocks, but there’s no point in dredging them until the deluges stop.Michael Maes’s home in Mora, an edenic valley town a few canyons away from Mr. Ulibarri’s place, stands right in the path of this water. At one point, it rose to his waist, and even after clearing out all the mud, he had to scramble repeatedly to channel fresh flooding around the structure instead of through it. Meanwhile, water pressure has remained low, so he’s had to carry buckets around just to flush toilets.“We just get hit over and over,” said Mr. Maes. All of that work kept him from his day job, cutting hair about 40 minutes down the valley, and drained his savings. Every time the sky darkens, he keeps in touch with friends on a text chain, dreading the wreckage that follows. “There’s a cloud that rolls over, all of a sudden” he sai …

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