SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting additional federal assistance under the disaster declaration signed by the president earlier this month in response to widespread wildfire activity across the state.
“New Mexico is utilizing every available asset to combat the advancing fires,” the governor’s letter to the President reads. “However, the ever-increasing costs to save lives and protect New Mexicans’ homes, property, and heritage as these fires continue exceeds the capability of the state. New Mexico’s response to these devastating fires warrants the full resources and support of the federal government.”
Gov. Lujan Grisham requested that the President, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), immediately authorize federal funding for additional eligible types of federal support, including the full range of emergency assistance under Category B of Public Assistance, as well as Category A, debris removal. The governor previously requested these services be made available to New Mexico in her initial request for a disaster declaration, however only partial approval of Category B was granted (mass care sheltering and direct federal assistance), while Category A was not granted at all.
Gov. Lujan Grisham also requested today that the federal government assume responsibility for 100% of the costs associated with the response and recovery for the wildfires under the declared disaster. While federal disaster declarations typically employ a 75%/25% respective cost share between the federal government and the state, the governor emphasized that both the severity of the ongoing wildfires and the U.S. Forest Service’s culpability for the prescribed burn that resulted in the Hermits Peak Fire underscore the need for the federal government to cover 100% of the total eligible costs.
The state reminds affected New Mexicans that residents and business owners impacted by the ongoing wildfires should apply for assistance by registering with FEMA at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362). If you have already registered for assistance with FEMA, you will not need to reapply to receive these benefits.
To date, FEMA reports that more than 260 households in New Mexico have already been approved for federal relief.
FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are on the ground supporting affected New Mexicans and assisting them in applying for federal relief at the official evacuation shelters in Las Vegas, Glorieta, Taos, Peñasco, and Raton, as well as at the Ruidoso Community Center.