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HomeBreaking NewsNew Mexico delegation seeks changes to wildfire aid rules

New Mexico delegation seeks changes to wildfire aid rules

'Quick read' news summary

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico’s congressional delegation says the U.S. government should make changes to rules proposed for processing damage claims stemming from a historic wildfire sparked by forest managers.

The delegation sent a letter to FEMA on Thursday as the federal agency prepares to wrap up public comment on the rules. The delegation noted that unlike a more affluent part of New Mexico that was devastated by a government-sparked wildfire in 2000, this part of northern New Mexico is more rural, has higher poverty rates and a high percentage of Spanish speakers.

The delegation also said many residents are still reeling from the emotional, financial and physical tolls of the Hermit’s Peak-Calf Canyon Fire and that post-fire flooding has been a big concern for the mountainous areas.

“By providing thorough guidance and adding claims navigators early in the process, FEMA can ensure that claimants have the necessary resources in place to help them quickly and accurately assess the damages and repairs needed to move forward and receive the compensation as authorized by Congress,” the delegation wrote.

Congress has approved nearly $4 billion for victims of the 2022 fire so far, and state officials have acknowledged that the recovery process will be long and challenging.

The New Mexico attorney general’s office also has sought changes to the proposed rules. Then-Attorney General Hector Balderas, whose term ended in December, had outlined concerns over limitations on damages, the lack of a clear appeals process and leadership of the team that will oversee the claims

SANTA FE, N.M. -- New Mexico’s congressional delegation says the U.S. government should make changes to rules proposed for processing damage claims stemming from a historic wildfire sparked by forest managers. The delegation sent a letter to FEMA on Thursday as the federal agency prepares to wrap up public comment on the rules. The New Mexico attorney general’s office also has sought changes to the proposed rules.

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