SANTA FE — Gov. Susana Martinez has directed state agencies responding to the Timberon Fire in Otero County to work with local leaders and other local, county, and federal entities on plans and actions required in the aftermath of the Timberon Fire.
In the aftermath of devastating wildfires such as the Timberon Fire, affected areas can often be vulnerable to flooding, excessive debris runoff, and dangerous effects to the local watershed which can be difficult to control and cause further damage.
“Protecting residents and their health and safety is always our first priority,” Martinez said. “In New Mexico, we’ve become all too familiar with the devastating one-two punch of wildfires and floods. To be prepared for this, I’ve directed our agencies to work with local communities in assessing the current damage and preparing for additional potential post-wildfire hazards that may occur in the aftermath of the fire.”
Martinez’s directive includes agencies such as the Departments of Transportation, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Environment, and others to coordinate with local authorities in Otero County, volunteer organizations across the state, as well as our federal partners. Martinez also directed the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to begin damage assessments as soon as conditions are safe enough to do so.
Martinez declared a state of emergency to enable Otero County to order and pay for additional resources needed to help with the response to the Timberon Fire. Additionally, Martinez recently announced the approval of federal funding to help cover costs associated with fighting the fire. The Fire Management Assistance Grant will cover 75 percent of the cost of suppressing the fire. Eligible costs include pre-positioning of resources, evacuations and sheltering, traffic control, and fire equipment.
At Martinez’s direction, state agencies such as the New Mexico State Police, the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Department of Transportation, New Mexico State Forestry, and others continue to assist in the response to the fire. The Governor also activated the New Mexico Emergency Operations Center to assist in the coordinated response to the fire, and she continues to receive regular updates from incident response leaders and first responders.
Throughout the continued response to the Timberon Fire, Martinez has joined the New Mexico National Guard to fly over the fire and survey the damage firsthand, and visited with firefighters and other first responders on the perimeter of the fire. Martinez also joined state, local, and federal officials for a public meeting in Timberon yesterday to provide the community with the latest information on the response to the fire.
The Timberon Fire has affected nearly 300 acres in Otero County, including destroying more than 40 structures. State and local authorities will continue to monitor and respond to the fire through a coordinated effort as the situation develops.