Federal wildfire prevention funding: Where in NM will it impact?

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Federal officials gave new details to KOB 4 on funding for wildfire prevention efforts.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced another round of taxpayer money from D.C. coming to a collection of Western states to thin trees and carry out prescribed burns.

No locations in New Mexico are included this year, but one area has benefitted thus far.

Last year, $6 million went to efforts in the Enchanted Circle in the Carson National Forest, which includes Taos.

U.S. Forest Service officials based in Albuquerque said they are optimistic about these plans having a positive impact in the state.

“We have an opportunity with this work being prioritized and supported to make the significant change that we need to and help protect our community,” said Ian Fox, Southwestern Regional Special Assistant to the Regional Forester.

The efforts are part of a federal plan that is in its second year. It hopes to improve conditions in 250 high-risk communities in the country.

“That helps highlight, not only for the Forest Service and the USDA, that that initiative is a high priority, but for Congress, this administration and our local leaders as well,” Fox said.

Congress would have to keep funding these efforts for them to continue in the coming years.

Other ongoing federal projects involve the same wildfire prevention work in areas such as the Zuni Mountains, the Rio Chama area and the Gila and Lincoln national forests.