Washington, D.C.-- For the fourth time in a little over a month, and the fifth time this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized federal funds to help New Mexico fight uncontrolled wildfires burning in the state. Moving quickly when it became clear the fires were becoming a threat to lives and property, FEMA authorized federal funds to assist the state in battling the Turkey fire in Colfax County, and the Cerro Pelado fire in Mora County.
"The men and women on the front lines fighting these fires need to know they have the financial backing of the federal government," FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said. "We will continue to support states during this dangerously dry fire season."
Allbaugh approved the state's latest request for federal fire management assistance this afternoon after confirming that both fires combined led to the evacuation of 150 people and threatened 200 homes and businesses. Areas currently threatened include the communities of Cimarron and Lambert Hills subdivision in Colfax County, and Ojo Selix and Aranjos in Mora County. The fires, which started this past Sunday, had burned more than 10,000 acres at the time of the request.
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 previously granted to the state this year for the Borrego fire on May 23, the Dalton fire in San Miguel County on May 7, the Panesco fire in Otero County on May 1, and the Kokopelli Fire Complex in Lincoln County on March 23.
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.