President Biden says the federal government will help pay the bills from the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires. They started because of prescribed burns done by the U.S. Forest Service. These are fires designed to control brush and fuels that lead to dangerous wildfires.
Both burns got out of control.
Combined, the two fires became the largest wildfire in New Mexico history. They’ve burned over 341,000 acres and destroyed over 900 structures. Hundreds of them are homes. While 72% contained, it still is a threat to 12,000 more structures.
In comments last Saturday in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the president said the federal government will cover 100% of the cost.
“We have a responsibility as a government to deal with the communities who are put in jeopardy,” Biden said. “And today I’m announcing the federal government is covering 100 percent of the cost of debris removal and emergency protective measures for the next critical months.”
After that statement, the White House issued some clarifications and said the president amended the New Mexico Disaster Declaration to push the cost percentage from 75% to 100%. However, that’s for “the first 90 days of the incident period.”
Biden intends that to be a bridge to the potential passage of legislation titled, the Hermits Peak Fire Assistance Act. It hasn’t been approved by Congress. However, if it does pass, the act will require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management System (FEMS) to create a claims office to pay full compensation to those who’ve suffered financial losses, or injuries, or both.
“This additional support will help ensure that New Mexico has no financial limitations related to immediate lifesaving and life sustaining operations related to the ongoing wildfires, including urgent debris removal,” the White House said in its clarification.
In his remarks, the president also noted that the U.S. Forest Service does 4,500 prescribed burns a year. And “99.8% percent go as planned. This time, tragically, it did not,” he said.
Source link: The Hill — https://bit.ly/3y7JQfe
Feds to Cover 100% of the Damage from New Mexico’s Massive Wildfire
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