FEMA head tours Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon burn scar

By: - October 9, 2023 4:00 am

FEMA workers stationed along a road at a disaster recovery center in Glorieta, following the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon Fire in late May. (Photo by Bright Quashie for Source NM)

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, Deanne Criswell was in New Mexico last week to visit the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon burn scar.

Administrator Criswell toured the Mora area Oct. 5 to see damage caused by the fire and speak with victims. While members of the media were not allowed to join her, she was available by phone in between stops.

“I’ve been able to talk with my team that’s on the ground. I’ve been able to talk with local elected officials and I’ve been able to talk with survivors,” she said.

Source NM and ProPublica reported last week that FEMA has paid out only 2% of the $4 billion the U.S. Congress set aside to help victims of the fire.

“I know that there’s been a lot of focus on that, and I think one of the biggest things that I want to get across to everybody is that we are building up our momentum right now,” Criswell said.

She also said that she’d like to see more victims come into the FEMA offices in Mora, Las Vegas and Santa Fe to file claims.

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Megan Myscofski
Megan Myscofski

Megan Myscofski is a reporter with KUNM's Poverty and Public Health Project. She previously worked as a Business and Economics Reporter at Arizona Public Media, where she also reported, produced and hosted a narrative podcast, Tapped, on the cost of drought in Arizona. Before that, she was a reporter and host at Montana Public Radio and an intern on the podcast "Threshold". Her first audio journalism internship was in Essen, Germany as a high school exchange student.