May 9, 2023

FEMA announces funding for Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire recovery

Andy Lyon/USDA Forest Service

Fire approaches Highway 434 at Christmas Tree Canyon as firefighters work to keep the fire west of the road.

Communities impacted by the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire will receive more than $18 million in federal assistance to help rebuild damaged infrastructure and reimburse expenses from wildfire response.

“The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire destroyed individual homes and businesses, and also the foundational infrastructure we collectively rely on,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a press release. “To get through, New Mexicans pulled together and gave shelter and support to their neighbors. These federal funds will help us rebuild our electrical infrastructure and repay those who gave shelter when it was needed most.”

The Mora-San Miguel Electric Co-Op will receive about $17.3 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair damage to the electric infrastructure.

Additionally, FEMA is providing the state’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management with nearly $1.5 million to reimburse the agency for mutual aid responses, including  shelter operations, equipment, and staff to support people and pets that were evacuated because of the wildfire.

Sen. Ben Ray Luján, a New Mexico Democrat, said the funding will help the electric co-op ensure that resources such as utility poles and transformers are fully functional.

“The beautiful communities of Mora and San Miguel Counties are resilient,” Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández said. “The largest wildfire in New Mexico history will not stop us from rebuilding. This funding will repair basic infrastructure to further heal the wounds the fire caused. We will continue to use every possible federal resource to not only compensate those who lost so much in the fires, but invest in their future.”