(Updated Thursday, Aug. 5)

A mudslide blocked a section of State Road 38 near Red River last Friday (July 30) after a heavy rain downpour caused mud to flow down the hill and into the road.

The road was closed for approximately two hours, with traffic halted in both directions as multiple agencies tended to the situation, just near the Red River town limits. Red River Public Works, the Red River Fire Department, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office, the Red River Marshal’s Office and the New Mexico Department of Transportation all assisted with the event.

Several bulldozers were brought in to help move the massive amounts of mud around, and much time was spent pushing the mud off the roadway and into the river. However, this quickly led to problems for the 4K River Ranch, which is located just down the hill from where the mudslide took place.

As bulldozers pushed the mud into the river, it quickly began to back up, causing the RV campsite to flood, and forced them to evacuate several people. Luckily, the team at the campground was ready, and they sprung into action, using chainsaws and pickaxes to clear up the mud and debris clogging the river.

“If our guys weren’t out there clearing it, it would have flooded our property and continued to flood into the town,” said 4K River Ranch manager Todd Worrell. “We had three guys down there with shovels and picks clearing out the river so the water could continue to flow.”

Worrell said the campground is still not back to normal yet, and that excavators will be brought into the clear out the river because “it’s still not flowing properly… and so part of our property is still flooded.”

Deke Willis, Red River fire chief, said “during monsoon season, the ground is so saturated, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened before today.” He added there are three locations along State Road 38 that are prone to mudslides and are watched regularly.

Red River EMS Division Supervisor Ed Saint said they had been watching through the rest of the weekend for additional slides. “We’ve been watching because we had pretty heavy rain on Saturday, but it was obviously not in that area,” he said. “It all depends on where that rain concentrates.”

No injuries were reported as a result of the mudslide.

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