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N.M. Delegation Announces President's Approval Of Major Disaster Declaration For New Mexico Fires

Lawmakers Sent Letter to President Urging Swift Approval of State's Major Disaster Declaration Request in Response to Severe Fires Burning in Lincoln County, Otero County, and the Mescalero Apache Reservation

RUIDOSO, N.M. – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.), Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.), and Gabe Vasquez (D-N.M.) released the following joint statement, announcing that President Joe Biden has approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Lincoln County and the Mescalero Apache Tribe in New Mexico in the wake of severe fires burning in Lincoln County, Otero County, and the Mescalero Apache Reservation. 
“We commend President Biden for approving the Major Disaster Declaration so quickly. The South Fork and Salt Fires are serious and threatening multiple communities, with two confirmed fatalities and hundreds of homes and businesses already destroyed. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have been lost to these fires and the thousands of New Mexicans who have had to flee their homes. And our gratitude is with the firefighters, first responders, local and Tribal leaders, and neighboring communities helping respond to this disaster. We will continue to work with FEMA and the State to make sure that Otero County and all New Mexicans impacted by this disaster receive the federal support they need.”
Yesterday, the entire New Mexico Congressional delegation sent a letter to President Biden, urging the administration to approve a Major Disaster Declaration request from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. 
A Major Disaster Declaration opens up access to Public Assistance and Individual Assistance funds from FEMA. Public Assistance supports local community emergency response, as well as the restoration and reconstruction of public infrastructure and lands. Individual Assistance supports families recovering from losses suffered due to the fires. 
The State of New Mexico has requested Public Assistance, Category A and B, including Direct Federal Assistance and Individual Assistance for Lincoln County, Otero County, and the Mescalero Apache Tribe. Major Disaster Declarations can be amended to include additional areas and assistance, and FEMA is still working to assess a declaration for Otero County.