New Mexico law signed to help wildfire, flooding recovery efforts

Associated Press in PBS News Hour
February 20, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday signed to use zero-interest loans to help local governments in the arid, Southwest state repair or replace public infrastructure damaged by wildfires or subsequent flooding. The law follows last year’s historic Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon blaze that exploded into the largest wildfire in New Mexico’s recorded history. Begun in early April as a prescribed burn by the U.S. government, it grew into a monstrous blaze that blackened more than 530 square miles (1,370 square kilometers). Hundreds of homes in northern New Mexico were lost. A subsequent report by the U.S. Forest Service said its employees made multiple miscalculations, used inaccurate models and underestimated how dry conditions were. Experts say the resulting environmental harms will endure for decades.

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