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Biden says U.S. will pay the bill for New Mexico wildfire recovery

12 June 2022 18:53 (UTC+04:00)
Biden says U.S. will pay the bill for New Mexico wildfire recovery

By Trend

The U.S. government will fund New Mexico's full wildfire response, President Joe Biden said on Saturday, speaking from Santa Fe amid anger from survivors over the blaze that was started by federal officials, Trend reports citing Reuters.

"We have a responsibility to help the state recover," Biden told elected officials and emergency responders at an afternoon briefing in New Mexico's capital, where he was reviewing efforts to fight the Southwestern state's biggest blaze in recorded history.

"Today I'm announcing the federal government's covering 100% of the cost," the president said, though earlier in the day he had said he would need congressional approval for some funding.

"We will be here for you in response and recovery as long as it takes," he said, adding that he saw an "astounding" amount of the perimeter of the territory that had burned while flying to Santa Fe.

"It looks like a moonscape," Biden said.

Driven by drought and wind, the fire has destroyed hundreds of homes in mountains northeast of Santa Fe since two prescribed burns by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) went out of control in April.

The White House said in a statement that Biden's order would cover "debris removal and emergency protective measures" for 90 days, a period to act as a bridge between emergency operations and possible further congressionally mandated assistance.

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