WATCH: Governor, FEMA officials answer questions about wildfires, federal assistance
SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham sat down with leaders from FEMA Tuesday to answer questions about how the federal government will be assisting New Mexicans displaced by wildfires.
On May 4, President Joe Biden signed a disaster declaration making federal funding available for New Mexicans in Colfax, Mora, San Miguel, Lincoln and Valencia counties.
While the state doesn’t have an exact number, they are estimated more than 10,000 New Mexicans have been evacuated and they are assuming more than 1,000 homes have been lost.
However, only 2,000 people have applied for FEMA assistance. Lujan Grisham said she expects those numbers to go up as wildfire season continues.
The governor also addressed the timeline for when evacuations could end. She said New Mexicans need to brace themselves for possible evacuations all summer. State Forester Laura McCarthy echoed the sentiment.
“I don’t want to give New Mexicans any false hopes that the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire will be contained any time soon,” McCarthy said.
How to apply for FEMA assistance:
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties apply for assistance by registering online here or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.