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Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire

Assistance for those Injured in the Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire 

On September 30, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Act (“Act”) as part of the Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023, Public Law 117-180, 136 Stat. 2114 (2022). The Congress passed the Act to compensate those parties who suffered injury and loss of property from the Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire (“Fire”).

On April 6, 2022, the U.S. Forest Service initiated the Las Dispensas-Gallinas prescribed burn on Federal land in the Santa Fe National Forest in San Miguel County, New Mexico. That same day the prescribed burn, which became known as the “Hermit's Peak Fire,” exceeded the containment capabilities of the U.S. Forest Service and was declared a wildfire, spreading to other Federal and non-Federal lands.[1On April 19, 2022, the Calf Canyon Fire, also in San Miguel County, New Mexico, began burning on Federal land and was later identified as the result of a pile burn in January 2022 that remained dormant under the surface before reemerging.[2The Hermit's Peak and Calf Canyon Fires merged on April 27, 2022, and both fires were reported as the Hermit's Peak Fire or the Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire. By May 2, 2022, the fire had grown, causing evacuations in multiple villages and communities in San Miguel County and Mora County, including the San Miguel County jail, the State's psychiatric hospital, the United World College, and New Mexico Highlands University.[3At the request of New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham, President Biden issued a major disaster declaration on May 4, 2022.[4The Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire was not 100 percent contained until August 21, 2022.[5]

The Act provides compensation to injured persons impacted by the Fire. It requires FEMA to design and administer a claims program to compensate victims of the Fire, for injuries resulting from the fire and to provide for the expeditious consideration and settlement for those claims and injuries. The Act further directs FEMA to establish an arbitration process for disputes regarding claims.

This interim final rule establishes the procedures for the processing and payment of claims to those injured by the Fire sustaining property, business, and/or financial losses. FEMA's procedures in this interim final rule are generally consistent with prior processes established for claims associated with the Cerro Grande Fire Assistance Act.[6Specific discussion and request for comment is provided where FEMA seeks to revise and/or modernize that process. As referenced above, FEMA plans to hold in-person public meetings during the 60-day comment period.

The Claims Process for Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire

The first step in the claims process under this part is for the Claimant to file a Notice of Loss with the Office of Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Claims (“Claims Office”). After receipt and acknowledgement by the Claims Office, a Claims Reviewer will contact the claimant to review the claim and help the claimant formulate a strategy for obtaining any necessary supporting documentation to complete the Proof of Loss. After discussion of the claim with the Claims Reviewer, the claimant will review and sign a Proof of Loss and submit it to the Claims Office. The Claims Reviewer will submit a report to the Authorized Official for review to determine whether compensation is due to the claimant. The Authorized Official's written decision will be provided to the claimant. If satisfied with the decision, the claimant will receive payment after returning a completed Release and Certification Form. If the claimant is not satisfied with the decision, an Administrative Appeal may be filed with the Director of the Claims Office. If the claimant is not satisfied after appeal, the dispute may be resolved through binding arbitration or heard in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. The specific proposals in this rule are more fully described below.

New York Personal Injury Attorney Helps Victims of Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire

At the Marcowitz Law Firm we are uniquely qualified to handle these types of claims.   Edward Marcowitz has been advocating for September 11th 2001 Victims for over 20 years. He has a broad range of experience in the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund which the Hermit's Peak/Calf Canyon Fire Assistance Act  is modeled after. Mr. Marcowitz is proud to serve as the personal attorney to the family of NYC Detective James Zadroga for whom the 9/11 Fund is named.  If you have any questions or would like a free consultation please call our offices at 1-833-529-4040.

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