Washington, DC -- The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that President Clinton has ordered federal emergency aid for New Mexico because of the extreme threat to populated areas posed by the wildfire outbreak in the north-central part of the state.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said the President took the action early this evening after the agency reported that fire had consumed several thousand acres of land and was forcing the evacuation of the entire city of Los Alamos.
Witt said the President's emergency declaration authorizes FEMA to make federal funding available to pay 75 percent of the cost for emergency measures needed to save lives, protect property, and insure public health and safety in the counties of Los Alamos, Sandoval and Santa Fe. Additionally, FEMA is authorized by the declaration to mobilize and provide equipment and other resources that may be required to alleviate the emergency conditions.
Witt indicated that assessments of fire threats in other areas are continuing and additional designations may be made later as the situation warrants. He named Mark S. Ghilarducci of FEMA to coordinate federal emergency assistance.