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2 dead, 1 missing in flooding in northern New Mexico

A sunset is seen through plumes wildfire smoke in Las Vegas, N.M., on May 7. Two people died and another person was reported missing from flash flooding in a stretch of northern New Mexico that had been ravaged this past spring by wildfire.The flooding occurred in the “burn scar” area where the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire burned. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)

LAS VEGAS, N.M. – Two people died and another person was reported missing from flash flooding in a stretch of northern New Mexico that had been ravaged this past spring by wildfire.

Tim Nix, chief of the Cabo Lucero Volunteer Fire Department, said the two bodies were discovered Thursday afternoon west of Las Vegas, New Mexico, when his team responded to a call of a vehicle being washed away by floodwaters.

No one was in the vehicle when firefighters arrived. The two bodies were later discovered, though Nix declined to reveal where the bodies were found.

Law enforcement officers, National Guard members and others searched Friday for a third person who went missing in flood.

Nix declined to reveal whether those who were swept away were related.

The flooding occurred in the “burn scar” area where the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire burned.

The blaze, which has burned 533 square miles, has yet to be fully contained after more than three months. It was 93% contained on Friday.

Crews fighting the blaze said more than an inch of rain fell in less than an hour, that debris from the flood blocked some roads for fire crews and led to the temporarily withdrawal of firefighters for safety reasons.

In a statement, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she was saddened by the deaths.

“For a community that has already been through so much this year, this loss is another heartbreaking blow. I want to express my most sincere condolences to their loved ones,” she said.