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President declares disaster in New Mexico wildfire zone

Spring Wildfires
Thomas Peipert/AP
A firefighting plane flies over a plume of smoke near Las Vegas, N.M. on Wednesday, May 4, 2022. The fire has torched 250 square miles (647 square kilometers) over the last several weeks. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert)

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — Firefighters have slowed the advance of the largest wildfire in the U.S. as heavy winds relented. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has approved a disaster declaration that brings new financial resources to remote stretches of northern New Mexico devastated by fire. Fire crews in New Mexico sought Wednesday to keep the flames from pushing any closer to the town of Las Vegas and other villages scattered along the blaze's shifting fronts. The fire has burned hundreds of square miles, dozens of homes and trigged the evacuation of 15,500 homes. The new disaster aid includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.