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US approves $2.5B in fire aid for New Mexico victims

View of the remains of Michael Salazar's car, burned during the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires, in Tierra Monte, New Mexico.
Adria Malcolm
/
REUTERS
View of the remains of Michael Salazar's car, burned during the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires, in Tierra Monte, New Mexico.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Northern New Mexico residents are celebrating the passage of a government spending bill that includes $2.5 billion in relief for those affected by a historic wildfire sparked by the federal government. Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez called it a “good down payment” on what ultimately will be needed to rebuild the region and restore trust. The funding was included in a short-term spending bill that was signed by President Joe Biden on Friday. The Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire is the largest wildfire in the state’s history. It charred more than 530 square miles, destroyed several hundred homes and resulted in environmental damage that experts say will be felt for decades.