On Saturday, President Joe Biden will travel to New Mexico to discuss the efforts being made by his administration to combat wildfires. Residents of the state are seething with rage over the way in which federal officials allowed planned burns to spiral out of control, resulting in the largest fire in the annals of recorded state history. Biden’s visit is scheduled to take place on the same day.
Although it has been brought under control on multiple fronts, the fire is still actively burning in circumstances that are very hot and dry. According to federal authorities, it has been responsible for the destruction of more than 430 dwellings throughout a 500 square mile (1,300 square kilometre) area since early April.
Thousands of people of rural settlements with Spanish colonial heritage and high rates of poverty have been evacuated as a result of evacuations, which have also unleashed enormous harm to the environment. In areas where superheated fire pierced soil and roots, people’s primary worry is shifting from the threat posed by flames to that of mudslides and erosion.
The fire serves as a timely reminder of President Joe Biden’s concerns on wildfires, which are predicted to become more severe as the effects of climate change continue, as well as the ways in which they will strain the resources that are required to put out flames.
The two source fires that occurred in New Mexico have been traced back to burns that were carried out by federal forest managers with the intention of preventing future fires. This week, a group of citizens in Mora County filed a lawsuit against the United States Forest Service in an attempt to gather more information about the role that the government plays.
Ralph Arellanes of Las Vegas, New Mexico, stated that it seemed doubtful that many ranchers of modest means would obtain compensation for uninsured homes, barns, and sheds that were destroyed by the fire.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has given its blessing to 890 applications for disaster assistance totaling $2.7 million, which were submitted by individuals and families.
On Thursday, the administration of President Joe Biden said that it will provide qualifying financial assistance for the restoration of water systems, irrigation ditches, bridges, and roads. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, a Democrat from New Mexico, has introduced legislation that would provide complete compensation for practically all forms of lost property and income that were caused by the wildfire.
Jennifer Carbajal claims that she had to flee a shared family house in Pandaries, which is located in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, twice in order to escape an approaching wildfire. The house was spared but over fifty of the nearby residences and the tanks that fed the municipal water system were destroyed in the fire. As a result, there is no local source of drinkable water until truck supplies are made.
George Fernandez of Las Vegas, New Mexico, argues that it is doubtful that his family would be reimbursed for an uninsured home that was destroyed by fire in the isolated Mineral Hills region, nor for a companion cabin that was constructed by his grandparents about a century ago.
Because Fernandez’s brother had already moved out of the house and into a nursing home before the fire broke out, it was unlikely that the family would be eligible for direct federal compensation under the rules that are currently in place because the house was no longer being used as a primary residence.