NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Several state lawmakers are asking for FEMA to extend the deadline to apply for compensation for damages from the Hermits Peak Calf Canyon Fire. Senators Ben Ray Lujan and Martin Heinrich, along with Representative Tera Leger Fernandez introduced legislation on Capitol Hill to extend that deadline to a later date. The current deadline is November 2024.

The feds have set aside nearly $4B to settle claims over the fire which began as prescribed burns. FEMA said as of last Friday, the office had paid $84M in compensation to more than 320 people. “A lot needs to be done here. I know many claimants are ready to move forward and they have submitted claims, and for some folks, it’s taking more time,” said Director Angela Gladwell, Hermits Peak Calf Canyon Claim’s Office.

Lujan, Heinrich, and Leger Fernandez have also sponsored a bill creating a similar office for losses incurred during the Cerro Pelado Fire in the Jemez. In April 2022, that wildfire burned more than 45,000 acres and destroyed ten homes. The Forest Service said that fire began as a holdover from an earlier prescribed burn.