SANTA FE, N.M. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce the final regulations for the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Act will be published on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. This significant milestone comes as a result of the valuable feedback received during the public comment period on the Interim Final Regulations (IFR), which included written comments and statements made during public meetings in Mora, San Miguel, Colfax, and Taos counties.
The public comments received from impacted community members and recovery stakeholders played an instrumental role in shaping the final regulations, underscoring FEMA's unwavering commitment to transparency and community engagement. Notably, the final regulations remove caps on compensation associated with reforestation, revegetation and risk reduction efforts on lands directly impacted by the fire, allowing the Claims Office to fully compensate for those losses and practices.
Among other notable provisions, the final regulations:Allow compensation for property values that have been substantially and enduringly reduced due to the fire's impact, acknowledging the prolonged recovery process.Extend the deadline for compensation related to mental health treatment and mental health conditions resulting from, or worsened by, the fire that are also eligible for coverage.Extend the compensation period for donations to November 14, 2022.Expand compensation for reimbursement of expert opinions, enhancing accuracy in determining appropriate compensation amounts.Extend the timeframe for reopening claims, recognizing the ongoing nature of recovery and rebuilding efforts.
In the five months since the opening of our physical claims offices, FEMA has disbursed $37 Million in compensation payments associated with the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Act. These payments encompass various losses, ranging from mandatory evacuation expenses to homeowner's insurance deductibles, debris removal, erosion control, and debris flow barriers. Payments have also included property coverage for claimants through National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies. The Claims Office anticipates disbursing over $100 million by January 1, 2024, and over $1 billion by January 1, 2025.
In addition, FEMA’s Public Assistance Program has approved more than $64.3 million in funding for the State of New Mexico to reimburse state and local governments for emergency protective measures, debris removal, and repair or replacement of public facilities, roads, and bridges.
While the Final Rule will officially publish Tuesday, Aug. 29, the rule will be posted for public inspection beginning Monday, Aug. 28 at https://www.federalregister.gov/. To access the Final Rule, click on the red Public Inspection button on the top left of the page.