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Fires and Floods 1

A plume of smoke rises above the Waldo Canyon wildfire west of Manitou Springs, Colo. The fire left behind vast swaths of scorched earth highly conducive to flash flooding. In Colorado, multiple flash floods have struck this summer in or near scars left by last yearâs wildfires. The U.S. Forest Service spent nearly $46 million nationwide in fiscal 2012 on emergency erosion measures. The money paid for mulch to absorb rain, shoring up roads and trails, and reseeding.

Fires and Floods: Cost of Recovery for Colorado

Drenching rain in the wildfire-blackened hills below Colorado's Pikes Peak sent a torrent of rock and mud into the tourist town of Manitou Springs this month, killing a 53-year-old man and smashing into dozens of houses.

It had been more than a year since the enormous Waldo Canyon Fire roared across the slopes above. But its burn scar is just beginning to recover, with little plant material - living or dead - to absorb this year's late-summer rains.

So when the storm came on Aug. 9, the runoff raced down, destroying or damaging 36 homes, engulfing half a dozen cars and killing John Collins, who was driving home from work. Manitou Springs was smeared with reddish mud and debris.