President declares disaster in New Mexico wildfire zone

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Washington, May5 (BNA):  Firefighters slowed the advance of the largest wildfire in the U.S. as heavy winds relented Wednesday, while President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration that brings new financial resources to remote stretches of New Mexico devastated by fire since early April.

U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez announced the presidential disaster declaration during an evening briefing by the U.S, reports AP.

Forest Service about efforts to contain the sprawling wildfire in northeastern New Mexico. It has fanned out across 258 square miles (669 square kilometers) of high alpine forest and grasslands at the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains.

Fire bosses are seizing upon an interlude of relatively calm and cool weather to prevent the fire from pushing any closer to the small New Mexico city of Las Vegas and other villages scattered along the fire’s shifting fronts.

Airplanes and helicopters dropped slurries of red fire retardant from the sky, as ground crews cleared timber and brush to starve the fire along crucial fronts.

Biden’s disaster declaration releases emergency funds to recovery efforts in three counties in northeastern New Mexico where fires are still raging and for southern New Mexico areas where wind-driven blazes killed two people and destroyed over 200 homes in mid-April.

The aid includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other relief programs for people and businesses, a White House statement said.