President Joe Biden has approved Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s request to declare a major disaster in New Mexico due to multiple wildfires around the state, unlocking millions of dollars in relief for affected individuals and communities.
“New Mexicans cannot wait for these fires to be extinguished to receive relief,” said Lujan Grisham in a news release. “That’s why I expedited the state’s request for emergency aid for individuals, and I’m grateful to President Biden for recognizing the urgency of the situation in our state.”
While requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration is typically a lengthy process that often only begins weeks after the conclusion of a natural disaster, the governor and state officials worked around the clock with federal authorities to expedite the filing process, according to the release. By using science and data to show how the fires were dramatically worsened by a statewide windstorm, officials were able to more quickly meet the financial threshold for damages to make federal assistance available to New Mexicans.
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance Thursday by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
The website allows people to enter a city and state or a ZIP code to see if their area is eligible.