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Biden amends disaster declaration for 2022 fires

An American Flag on a fence blows in the wind along New Mexico Highway 22 as the Cerro Pelado Fire burns in the Jemez Mountains on April 29, 2022 in Cochiti, New Mexico. (Robert Browman/The Albuquerque Journal)
U.S. government to cover 100% of protective measures

President Joe Biden amended an emergency declaration Aug. 9 stemming from last year’s fires that increased the federal government’s share of costs related to the Cerro Pelado Fire.

Under the amended declaration, the federal government will cover 100% of the costs for emergency protective measures.

This comes after an investigation found that the U.S. Forest Service’s winter burn piles ignited during high spring wind conditions, leading to the Cerro Pelado Fire.

“I am grateful to President Biden for recognizing the federal government’s responsibility to cover the costs associated with this disaster caused by the U.S. Forest Service’s mismanagement of a prescribed burn,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Aug. 9. “The victims of the Cerro Pelado fire are still recovering, and I encourage FEMA to get this money out the door as quickly as possible so that impacted New Mexicans can rebuild their communities.”

Federal funding assists the state in recovery efforts including addressing mud flows from the burn scars.

Biden amended the declaration a day before visiting New Mexico.