Washington, D.C.-- For the sixth time since May 1st, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized federal funds to help New Mexico fight uncontrolled wildfires burning in the state. Moving quickly, less than five hours after receiving the request, FEMA made federal funds available to assist the state in battling the Ponil fire in Colfax County.
"FEMA is committed to assisting our nation's firefighters in getting them the resources they need to quickly extinguish these fires that threaten people's lives and property," FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said.
Allbaugh approved the state's latest request for federal fire management assistance this afternoon after confirming that the fire threatened the community of Ute Park/Eagle Nest. Up to 75 homes and businesses are being threatened in this community whose population totals approximately 1,000 people. The fires, which started this past Sunday, had burned nearly 70,000 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 Turkey and Cerro Pelado fires on June 4, 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.