Environment & Climate Change

30% of New Mexicans seeking FEMA help got denial letters, but they can still get aid

BY: - June 14, 2022

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has so far deemed 740 applicants ineligible for federal aid for damages caused by the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire, though an official stressed Monday that the door is still wide open for those people to get FEMA help.  Spokesperson Angela Byrd provided new numbers to Source New Mexico about applications […]

Black Fire spreads in hot, dry conditions

BY: - June 13, 2022

From a comparatively small blaze of just 150 acres to ravaging over 311,000 acres of southern New Mexico in just a month, the Black Fire is on the path to becoming the largest wildfire in the state. Dry weather across the Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness in the next few days will likely speed the […]

Biden: Feds will pay all costs from the massive wildfire in northern NM — for now

BY: - June 13, 2022

President Joe Biden on Saturday said the federal government would pay the whole bill for the ongoing Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire, including repairs to homes, farms and businesses damaged by fires, and temporary housing. “I’m thinking about what you’re thinking,” he said. “We have a responsibility to help this state recover, to help the families […]

People in the disaster zone have words for Biden ahead of his NM visit

BY: , , , and - June 10, 2022

Voters who may have lost homes or just returned to scorched properties in northern New Mexico went to the polls anyway this week to cast ballots for the next round of local leaders who will help shape the rebuilding process.  As they did, Source New Mexico reporters spread out up north and stayed most of […]

Grasses sprout in fresh burn scars as residents get their bearings

BY: - June 9, 2022

MONTE APLANADO, N.M. – John Trujillo has his morning coffee in a kitchen with a window facing a burnt mountain peak less than a mile away. It’s a daily reminder of the ongoing destruction caused by the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire. Trujillo, a lifelong Mora County resident, said he likes to stay home. “I don’t […]

FEMA provides millions to those affected by wildfire, but real cash help is still pending

BY: - June 9, 2022

MORA, N.M — Diana Trujillo stepped out of a single-story VFW hall on Tuesday afternoon, just after the Federal Emergency Management Agency deposited $37,000 into her bank account.  That’s the maximum amount the agency provides to people who lost their homes to the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon megafire in northern New Mexico, the biggest in the […]

Biden extends radiation compensation fund, but NM Downwinders still seek help

BY: - June 9, 2022

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a two-year extension to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), a federal program that provides financial compensation to people harmed during nuclear weapons testing and uranium mining. The act does not, however, cover those who lived downwind of the Trinity Test Site in New Mexico. And despite decades of […]

When campaigning means delivering food behind the fire lines

BY: - June 8, 2022

MORA, N.M. — For both of the men who vied to represent the area hit by the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire in the New Mexico House of Representatives, the race became less about traditional campaigning and more about responding to the needs of local residents. There has been disregard for the victims of the fire […]

Firefighters get a grip on the Black Fire, with containment jumping to nearly 50%

BY: - June 6, 2022

A significant boost in containment of the second-largest wildfire raging in New Mexico ignited hope for the firefighters who have been battling this burn for nearly a month. Containment of the Black Fire rose in the last 24 hours or so — a spike to almost 50% — with crews gaining full control over the […]

Wildfire caused air pollution in Las Vegas to reach nine times the healthy limit

BY: - June 6, 2022

As harsh winds spread the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire across more than 100,000 acres and authorities ordered residents to evacuate at the beginning of May, wildfire smoke filled the air with pollution that went far beyond healthy limits for 10 straight days. A consumer-grade air quality monitor installed on 8th Street in Las Vegas, New […]

Forest Service barely, sorta met burn requirements before Hermits Peak fire, plan shows

BY: - June 3, 2022

The Santa Fe National Forest burn boss who greenlit a prescribed burn that spun out of control in early April did so within the conditions set in a plan created four years prior – but only barely, and only sort of, according to a copy of the plan reviewed by Source New Mexico.  The burn […]

BLM cuts costs for clean energy developers looking to build on public lands

BY: - June 3, 2022

The Biden administration said on Wednesday it will significantly reduce the amount it charges companies to build wind and solar projects on public land, a move meant to incentivize renewable energy development. During a visit to Las Vegas, Nevada, following the announcement, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said the new policy would cut costs […]