New Mexico Officials: FEMA Delays Lead To Mistrust Among Wildfire Victims

"ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation are criticizing federal emergency managers for missing deadlines as residents seek recovery assistance following the largest wildfire in the state’s recorded history.

It has been a year since the U.S. Forest Service sparked the blaze after two prescribed-burn operations meant to clear dead and overgrown vegetation went awry. Hundreds of homes were destroyed along with the livelihoods of many rural residents who are now bracing for another season of post-fire flooding.

U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández and U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján wrote in a letter sent Wednesday to FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that the agencies need to finalize regulations for doling out nearly $4 million in recovery funds to families and businesses.

Without the final rules, they say justice for victims is being delayed, resulting in confusion and uncertainty for residents."

Susan Montoya Bryan reports for the Associated Press May 11, 2023.

Source: AP, 05/11/2023