NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – There is some good news for people affected by the Hermits Peak Calf Canyon Fire, aid from the federal government is on its way. The fire, which has burned more than 160,000 acres and forced tens of thousands of people into shelters, has burned for nearly a month.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham says President Joe Biden has approved the state’s request for a disaster declaration. That means evacuees will get help in the near term to pay for housing and to replace lost income. That support usually comes months after a fire is put out.

“So we leaned and made the case, with the delegation, to the White House that waiting for these requests doesn’t make any sense. And they need a new operation and New Mexico is the first in the nation, and I’m really excited, they’re hundred of millions of dollars that get into the hands of individuals, and families, and communities,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.

It also signals the federal government’s intent to make people affected by the fire whole. That could mean eventually replacing homes, fences, and even livestock. The governor says New Mexicans affected by the Hermits Peak Calf Canyon Fire can go online right now and apply for help. They will begin processing applications May 5.