WASHINGTON, D.C. (KAMR/KCIT) — Thursday, officials from the office of New Mexico Senator Ben Ray Luján announced N.M. Sen. Martin Heinrich and Luján will join Senator Alex Padilla to help the state respond and recover from wildfires.

According to a press release from officials with Luján’s office, they introduced two bills to support efforts in New Mexico and across the country to put fires out faster and better protect communities from post-fire flooding. Federal Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) will aim to support the pre-deployment of assets in advance of major wildfires. The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) aims to allow state and local governments to act quickly when storms are imminent to protect lives, property, and public infrastructure.

“As New Mexico battles the largest wildfire in state history, it’s crucial that state and local governments have the necessary tools to respond to these disasters,” said Luján.”With fire season well underway and extreme drought touching every corner of the state, I’m proud to introduce this package alongside Senator Padilla to help New Mexicans respond, recover, and rebuild from devastating wildfires, flooding, and other disasters.” 

The Fire Suppression Improvement Act would help ease the burden on state and local governments by expanding FEMA’s FMAG. The Post Fire Flooding and Debris Flow Act would include mitigating and preventing post-wildfire flooding and debris flows as eligible under FEMA’s HMGP.

“New Mexicans have learned all too well over the past decade that some of the hardest work to recover from these events often begins after the fires are extinguished,” said Heinrich.”We are seeing the costly toll the climate crisis and these record-breaking fires are having on our communities, our forests, and our watersheds. That is why I’m working to better equip our federal firefighters and first responders for more destructive wildfire seasons and the flooding and erosion that come in their aftermath. I’m proud to introduce these bills to strengthen federal support, both before and after wildfires, to keep our communities safer and make our forests more resilient.”

Rep. Joe Neguse introduced the Fire Suppression Improvement Act in the House, the Wildfire Recovery Act, and Rep. Jared Huffman will introduce the Post Fire Flooding and Debris Flow Act in the House said Luján officials. In addition to Padilla, Heinrich, and Luján, the bills are cosponsored by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) according to Luján officials.

For more information on the Fire Suppression Improvement Act, visit here.

For more information on the Post Fire Flooding and Debris Flow Act, visit here.

The Fire Suppression Improvement Act and the Post Fire Flooding and Debris Flow Act can be found here and here.