Washington, DC -- Federal funds have been authorized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help New Mexico battle the uncontrolled La Cueva fire located in Mora County.
According to the agency, the state's request for federal fire suppression aid was approved last night immediately after it was reported that the blaze was endangering life and property in the communities of Canoncito, El Alto, La Cueva, Lucero, Mora and the Martinez Trailer Park. The fire, which started last Tuesday, had burned 800-acres of land and forced the evacuation of at least 100 people at the time of the request.
The fire suppression authorization is the fifth granted for the state as a result of wildfire outbreaks this year. Previous fires designated for such assistance were the Viveach fire in San Miguel County (May 30); the Scott-Able fire in Otero County (May 14); the Cree fire in Lincoln County (May 8); and the Rio Grande Fire Complex in Socorro and Valencia counties (April 20).
The authorizations make federal funds available to pay 70 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs that are above $95,097. The figure, called a floor cost, is derived through a formula based on the state's five-year annual average cost for fighting fires.
Federal fire suppression aid is provided through the President's Disaster Relief Fund and made available by FEMA to assist in fighting fires when they threaten to cause a major disaster. Eligible state firefighting costs covered by the aid can include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials and supplies; and mobilization and demobilization activities.