Feds open disaster recovery center to help application process for fire victims

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MORA COUNTY, N.M. – The recovery process from the largest wildfire in state history is beginning in northern New Mexico. The feds have just opened a disaster recovery center in Mora County – to help people impacted by the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire.

The center is now open at the VFW post off Highway 518 in Mora, where people can get help applying for federal disaster assistance.

Multiple agencies like FEMA, the Small Business Administration, and the Red Cross are helping people who suffered losses in the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire. This is where you can get help to fill out disaster assistance applications, upload documents and ask any questions about the process. 

“We have assistance for homeowners and renters and temporary rental assistance lodging reimbursement and home repair assistance,” said Carmen Rodriguez Diaz FEMA media relations specialist.  

At one point, most of Mora County was evacuated. Now that those evacuation orders have been lifted – we’re getting our first look at the damage the fire did. Mora County officials say about 150 structures have been destroyed in the county alone.

FEMA says homeowners can get assistance in about a week in some cases if they have all the required documents.  

“If the person doesn’t have the documents available, for example, their insurance information – the proof that they were living in that house at the moment of the fires- they don’t have that information probably it’s going to take a little bit more, but we are going to help it disaster survivors in this application process,” said Rodriguez-Diaz.  

As of Wednesday, FEMA says it has already approved more than $2.4 million to help New Mexico residents recover from wildfires. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration is also at the center, offering low-interest loans to help homeowners and businesses rebuild. 

“With homeowners, we can lend up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence. For homeowners and renters, we can lend up to $40,000 to replace personal property and that includes cars,” said Cynthia Cowell with the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

This recovery center is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. No appointment is needed, walk-ins are welcome.