Biden Says Feds to Cover 100% of New Mexico Wildfire Response Costs After Feds Incompetence Contributed To Blaze
Biden was forced to deal with the anger and frustration of local responders to the results of the US Forest Service’s actions that led to the historic blaze.
Legal Insurrection readers may recall that U.S. Forest Service investigators determined the Calf Canyon Fire, which devastated large swaths of New Mexico, was caused by a “burn pile” of branches that the agency thought was out but reignited on April 19.
Now Biden said that the federal government would cover the total cost of the wildfire response in New Mexico following requests from the state’s governor and other lawmakers. He acknowledged the role the Forest Service played in starting the blaze.
“I think we have a responsibility as a government to deal with the communities who are put in such jeopardy. And today I am announcing that the federal government is covering 100% of the cost,” Biden said to applause in Santa Fe.
The fire, which is at over 300,000 scorched acres, is the largest wildfire ever in the state. Additionally, the Black Fire continues to burn in New Mexico and is the second-largest fire in state history, with more than 298,000 acres burned — meaning the two largest fires in state history have occurred in this record-paced wildfire year and are still burning.
During his first visit to the state, Biden flew over the perimeter of the largest wildfire in New Mexico.
“We have a responsibility to help this state recover, to help the families who have been here for centuries in the beautiful northern New Mexico villages who can’t go home and whose livelihoods have been fundamentally changed,” Biden said after arriving in Santa Fe.
It was his first visit to New Mexico as president.
Biden — speaking to emergency officials, state legislators and others in Santa Fe — said Air Force One flew over the perimeter of the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire before touching down.
Parts of the wilderness, he said, looked like a “moonscape.”
Biden was forced to deal with the anger and frustration of local responders to the results of the Forest Service’s actions.
“Our citizens are tired, angry, and afraid of the future they are facing,” said David Dye, New Mexico secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The fire forced thousands of residents to evacuate Indo-Hispano farming villages with twice the national poverty rate. The blaze has upended these fragile economies where residents cut firewood and raise hay to get by.
“This is not a natural disaster, this was man-made by a government entity,” said Ella Arellano, whose family lost hundreds of acres of forest around the village of Holman. “It’s a mess, just a big mess that will take generations to recover from.”
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 11, 2022
Not everyone is impressed with the response.
So will he blame the pandemic, Trump, or Putin for the fires?
— Volks (@cvolks83) June 11, 2022
Will you be discussing how to increase oil production in New Mexico or how to secure our border?
— Mary (@mbskow) June 11, 2022
Correction American tax payers will cover the cost
— Christine Hernandez (@rainydaysnm) June 12, 2022
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