SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is requesting federal approval of a disaster declaration as wildfires continue raging throughout New Mexico. The governor made the announcement in a news conference Tuesday morning in Santa Fe, highlighting five major, active wildfires burning across six counties in the state.
Governor Lujan Grisham said Tuesday that typically, federal declarations don’t occur until “after the emergency is dealt with,” due to high-level efforts identifying the amount of property loss that’s occurred. “I’m unwilling to wait,” the Governor said, highlighting how firefighters have been working on wildfire operations in New Mexico for the last month.
“We’re going to be the very first state in the nation to have a presidential declaration accepted and signed by the president unlocking all of these resources for watershed recovery, restoration of all of those wildlands and personal, direct, financial reparation and assistance before the fire is out,” she said. “We are submitting this today, the president is very clear that is coming and we have every indication that we’ll be the first state to advance this request.”
The largest fire in the state, the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire in San Miguel and Mora counties has forced hundreds to evacuate their homes. The Hermits Peak Fire started on April 6, while the Calf Canyon Fire started on April 19. The two fires merged on April 23. Collectively, the fires have burned at least 145,854 acres.
Another one of the state’s largest wildfires is the Cerro Pelado Fire in northern New Mexico. It sparked about seven miles east of Jemez Springs and now has burned at least 25,004 acres. That fire started on April 22 and has also lead to multiple evacuations.
Last month, Governor Lujan Grisha signed an executive order, asking counties and municipalities to ban firework retail sales in their communities. The governor does not have the power to ban the sale of fireworks, but local municipalities do.