President Joseph Biden last week approved a major disaster declaration for the state of New Mexico – a move the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) hopes will bring more attention and urgency to Wildfire Awareness Month this May.
Biden’s major disaster declaration for New Mexico also included an order for federal aid to supplement state-led and local recovery efforts in the region. Federal funding will be made available to individuals living in the counties of Colfax, Lincoln, Mora, San Miguel, and Valencia. The assistance can come in the form of grants for temporary housing and home repairs; low-cost loans to cover uninsured properties; and other support programs.
As of Monday (May 9), 343,600 acres had burned in New Mexico – much more than the state’s annual average of 270,000 acres during the 1995-2015 period.
"The US has incurred a significant loss of life and property damage over the past five years due to wildfires and drought conditions across the Western US are expected to continue throughout 2022, commented Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan. "During national Wildfire Awareness Month, everyone who lives in a wildfire-prone community should make sure they have adequate financial protection for their property and possessions while also taking steps to make their home or business more resilient to the impacts of wildfire."
Citing data from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), Triple-I warned that most Southwestern US states, as well as northern California are “expected to have above normal significant fire potential in May and June.” The potential for wildfires in Colorado and southern parts of the Great Basin, in particular, are at high wildfire risk this month. Meanwhile, Oregon and Washington’s wildfire risks would similarly spike sometime in July and August, the institute cautioned.