The Biden administration has told New Mexico forest fire victims to cover certain property damage expenses for a forest fire the U.S. government started, Reuters reported.
In April, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) mismanaged a controlled burn in northern New Mexico that ended up merging with another controlled blaze, resulting in over 341,000 acres of land being burned and 432 homes being destroyed.
In response, President Joe Biden announced in June that the U.S. government “is covering 100 percent of the costs… for the next critical months of recovery” during a visit to the state.
However, the vague declaration only covered debris removal and emergency protective measures and not full compensation for victims who lost property from the federal government-started Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon fire, Reuters noted.
Low-income victims, such as Daniel Encinias, 55, a rancher living in a trailer with his wife and children next to his destroyed home, were told by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that they would receive support with little to no cost.
After submitting an application to be compensated for a damaged well on his property, Encinias was told by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that he would have to foot 25 percent of the bill, Reuters reported.
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