Silver City, NM (KDBC) — Heavy rainfall in many areas of the Gila National Forest has created flooding and high water levels in most rivers, creeks, arroyos, and lakes. Forest visitors are encouraged to check with the local Ranger District office prior to venturing to forest areas as several forest roads are impassable due to washouts, debris such as fallen trees and branches along roadways, plugged culverts, and some roads being under water. A number of trails have also been impacted and are impassable.
Forest personnel were out assessing the damage Monday, and will begin conducting the necessary work needed to provide access in and out of forest roads. This may take some time depending on the amount of damage. Personnel are also working alongside local government including city, county, state, and federal agencies in responding to citizens and hunters who may be stranded, and in need of assistance.
Even though the National Weather Service predicts the current pattern of heavy rains to decrease by Thursday, September 19th, rainstorms will remain focused in mountain areas. Potential for flooding and flashfloods remains, as less rain is needed for these conditions to develop as the ground is already saturated. Additional rain will continue to raise current high water levels along all water carrying areas.
The Reserve, Glenwood, and Wilderness Ranger Districts have all been impacted heavily with recent rains with the remaining Districts receiving some damage to roads, trails, and property, both on forest and private lands.
If forest travel can be postponed until conditions stabilize, it is much appreciated.
Individuals who have family members or friends hunting or recreating on the Forest and are checking on their safety are encouraged to contact the N.M. State Police, and provide specific information such as the name of those missing, location of their camp, description of vehicles, dates of trip, etc. This information should also be shared with the local District Ranger and local Sheriff’s Department.
Please contact the local Ranger District office for further information on forest conditions.