Washington, D.C.-- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today again moved swiftly to help New Mexico battle another wildfire outbreak, authorizing the use of federal funds immediately after the Penasco fire began endangering life and property in Otero County.
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh approved the state's request for federal fire management assistance this afternoon when it was confirmed that the 800-acre blaze had caused the evacuation of residents in the town of Mayhill located about 12 miles southeast of Cloudcroft.
"We are committed to acting in a moment's notice to support firefighting efforts in New Mexico and elsewhere whenever there is a clear and present danger to life and property," Allbaugh said.
The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state's eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires. FEMA firefighting assistance was authorized earlier this year for the Kokopelli Fire Complex that forced multiple residential evacuations in the Ruidoso area of Lincoln County.
Federal fire management assistance 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.