US President Biden approved a disaster declaration for parts of New Mexico affected by wildfires

US President Biden approved a disaster declaration for parts of New Mexico affected by wildfires
Photo by Jim O'Donnell

U.S. President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for wildfire in northeastern New Mexico. During an evening briefing by the U.S. Forest Service congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez said:

It will help us do that rebuilding and it will help us with the expenses and the hardship that people are facing right now. We're glad it happened this quickly.

The President’s action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Colfax, Lincoln, Mora, San Miguel, and Valencia.

Aid includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Federal funding also available to:

  • State government

  • Local governments

  • Private nonprofit organizations (cost-sharing basis)

  • For hazard mitigation measures statewide (cost-sharing basis)

Residents and business owners who sustained losses can apply for assistance at Disaster Assistance website or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY).

On Wednesday New Mexico Fire Information reported the total affected area at 160,104 acres, making this wildfire second largest in the state history. Over 1200 personnel involved in operations. Air tankers dropped 27,932 gallons of retardant to aid the ground crews.

The fire destroyed around 170 homes, at least 15,000 homes have been affected by mandatory evacuations. Containment sits at just 20% and forest service estimates completely containment only at the end of July. If the spread rate continues as it is, the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon wildfire will be the largest blaze in New Mexico by mid-May.

Dan Pearson, a fire behavior specialist with the Southwest Incident Management Team, said weather forecasters are anticipating strong winds during the weekend.

More on affected area, smoke forecast and evacuations here: