Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was joined on a call with federal officials today by Sen. Martin Heinrich, Sen. Ben Ray Luján, and Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández. On the call were leaders from the White House, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of Interior and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as New Mexico State Forester Laura McCarthy and New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Deputy Secretary Kelly Hamilton.
Gov. Lujan Grisham thanked the members of the congressional delegation for supporting constituent service needs on the ground and thanked the federal agencies for their support and resources. The governor requested 25 additional federal support personnel to coordinate emergency response and recovery efforts. The governor and State Forester McCarthy emphasized the need for additional ground resources, particularly in advance of another severe wind event expected later this week. McCarthy also underscored the need for a comprehensive interagency post-wildfire response, including to address potential flooding caused by monsoons.
Federal officials thanked the governor and state officials for their update on New Mexico’s wildfires and commended state forestry teams and local officials for their work and quick action to respond to wildfires this early in the season. Four Fire Management Assistance Grants have been declared for New Mexico wildfires so far – federal officials also highlighted new funding for wildfire prevention made available by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Sen. Heinrich, Sen. Luján, and Rep. Leger Fernández reiterated their support for delivering additional federal resources and underscored the deeply personal ramifications of wildfires for historic communities throughout New Mexico that are most often without resources for recovery. The delegation members also emphasized the importance of ensuring that national and regional resources are appropriately available and disbursed throughout affected states and communities.
The governor and members of the congressional delegation jointly reiterated their agreement on the critical importance of prescribed burns and fuel reduction, but stressed the need to mitigate the risks of federal prescribed burns during the state’s spring windy season.