Gov. Lujan Grisham signs Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire recovery fund
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SANTA FE, N.M. – More relief is on the way for the families and communities that are still suffering after the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak Fire destroyed hundreds of homes, and thousands of acres of national forest in Mora and San Miguel counties.
On Monday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 6 with an emergency declaration to immediately make funds available to those who are trying to rebuild.
SB 6 will immediately free up $100 million from the state to directly pay communities, so they can rebuild and not wait for the federal government to send them their FEMA money.
SB 6 is the first major bill the governor has signed this session. This bill flew through both the House and the Senate in a way rarely seen in the Roundhouse.
“In my whole government career there have not been that many large appropriations proposals that have unanimous support,” said Grisham.
In summary, this bill is a loan from the state to impacted communities. But the governor says she will make sure we still get the money promised by the federal government.
“It’s much harder for the government to say no to the state, so we upload upfront money that’s intended to make people whole, and then I, along with all of my colleagues, we fight the federal government on their liability,” Grisham said.
It has almost been a year since the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire was started by federal prescribed burns. Since the fire was put out, communities have been planning on how they will rebuild.
“We got our projects ready to go. They’ve already been identified we’ve met with FEMA, there are 29 roads that have been identified as roads needing total reconstruction,” said Veronica Serna, a Mora County commissioner.
Now they just need the money.
“I believe it’s just gonna be a matter of days probably before DFA starts accepting applications,” said Serna.
Because this bill had an emergency declaration attached to it as soon as the governor signed the bill Monday morning, the Department of Finance will start accepting applications and sending out that money as soon as possible.
So what’s next for those impacted?
All of the communities have already been working with the state Department of Homeland Security so they will so as they finish their applications, the will start getting the money they need for these projects.