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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Governor Reiterates State Request To President Biden For Authorization Of Federal Assistance For Wildfire Disaster Response – Los Alamos Reporter

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday requested that President Joe Biden direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to include flooding impacts in New Mexico’s disaster declaration for counties affected by wildfires and extend the duration of the state’s disaster declaration with 100% federal cost coverage.

“While the state continues to employ every available asset to assist affected New Mexico communities, the ongoing monsoon season is exacerbating the devastation in burn scar areas and intensifying the need for federal resources to respond to and recover from wildfires,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “It is critical that FEMA grant our request for additional disaster support, particularly in light of the fact that the ongoing damage is the result of U.S. Forest Service prescribed burns.”

The president initially approved the governor’s request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for counties affected by wildfires in May, followed by his announcement during a visit to New Mexico that he would grant the governor’s request for the federal government to cover 100% of costs for emergency protective work and debris removal under the declaration.

In a letter to President Biden today, Gov. Lujan Grisham requested that the president direct FEMA to:

  • Include flooding impacts in the Major Disaster Declaration for the New Mexico Wildfires and Straightline Winds Event, initially requested by the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management earlier this month
  • Extend the duration of New Mexico’s disaster declaration originally granted for 90 days due to the continued expending of resources to fight fire, mitigate flood impacts in post-fire debris flows, and maintain response capability during the ongoing wildfire and monsoon seasons, initially requested by the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management earlier this month
  • Cover 100% of the total eligible costs under the extended duration of the disaster declaration

The governor also emphasized to the president that New Mexico is awaiting approval of several other requests for additional disaster support from FEMA made by the state, including the approval of Direct Temporary Housing Assistance and the retroactive extension of the use of Non-Congregate Sheltering for displaced individuals and families beyond the initial 30-day reimbursement limit. The state has also requested that the federal government take action to remedy the delay in the removal of debris and hazardous waste.

Gov. Lujan Grisham also recently formally requested that President Biden amend the state’s major disaster declaration to include Los Alamos and Sandoval counties as designated disaster areas due to the Cerro Pelado Fire.

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