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Governor signs emergency declaration for Taos County

Declaration provides new resources to support recovery from extreme winter weather

Santa Fe, NM – On Tuesday, Governor Lujan Grisham signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Taos County. This order aims to provide local governments with the tools and funding they need to begin recovering from the snow squall and heavy winds that impacted large portions of the county on December 15, 2021, including Red River, Arroyo Hondo, and Arroyo Seco.

This order provides up to $750,000 for the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) to support public recovery efforts organized by local officials. In this instance, the state constitution does not allow state emergency funds to be used for direct financial assistance to private individuals.

This declaration also means that affected localities within the county could also be eligible for state assistance. Additionally, state emergency declarations authorize the Adjutant General to activate the New Mexico National Guard for necessary support and direct all cabinet departments to assist with a statewide response.

“Taos County was hit by a snow squall on December 15, 2021, resulting in large, uncontrollable damage in the communities within our County,” said Taos County Manager Brent Jaramillo and Emergency Management Director Bobby Lucero in a joint statement. “Taos County provided emergency response in need, countywide. Debris from high winds damaged power lines, 911 towers, and roads. Taos County is waiting for recourses to rebuild and repair areas affected to keep our community safe. We appreciate the quick response from Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Governor Lujan Grisham and her staff for all the help we received in this time of crisis.”

“This declaration is a major step in Taos County’s recovery from the extreme winter weather that has impacted our state over the past month,” said DHSEM Deputy Secretary Kelly Hamilton. “DHSEM has been coordinating with city, county, and tribal emergency managers since this disaster began. I would like to thank Governor Lujan Grisham for signing this emergency declaration, as well as all the DHSEM staff, first responders, non-profits, emergency managers, and others who have worked so hard during this disaster to protect our communities.

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DHSEM works to protect the people of New Mexico and the nation through a comprehensive and coordinated program of mitigating hazards, preparing for emergencies, preventing attacks, and recovering from disasters. The New Mexico State Fire Marshal’s Office is part of DHSEM beginning on July 1, 2021.