NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The Senate could soon vote on legislation that would provide more financial assistance to people affected by the Hermits Peak Calf Canyon Fire. Right now, FEMA doesn’t cover land lost to the fire.
The Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Assistance Act would compensate ranchers and farmers that can no longer use their land. “People in Mora, San Miguel, and Taos counties that were impacted by the fires, they’re ranchers. So they utilize their land for pasture and right now they cannot be pasturing their cows in the forest because it’s burnt down. We need to make sure they are compensated for that land,” said Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez.
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She says that also includes Christmas tree farms. The legislation would also allow the federal government to reimburse for loss of income. That includes everything from a business burned down to not being able to work because of evacuations. People can also get compensated for other financial losses, including temporary housing.
The bill passed with bipartisan support in the House. Leger Fernandez expects the same in the Senate. The congresswoman says she’s already talked with the FEMA director on how to roll this out on the day it’s signed into law by President Biden. That could be within weeks.