AmeriCorps Deploys to New Mexico for Wildfire and Flood Response
More than 30 AmeriCorps members and staff provide home assessments, mucking, and debris removal in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
WASHINGTON, DC— AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, deployed AmeriCorps teams to support recovery efforts on Monday, Jan. 23, in New Mexico in response to President Biden’s major disaster declaration after the Hermits Peak Calf Canyon Fire, the largest wildfire in state history.
Located in the Santa Fe National Forest, the wildfire reached full containment in late August 2022. Heavy rain and thunderstorms followed, which led to flash flood warnings in multiple counties across North Central and Northeastern New Mexico. The historic fire, and subsequent flooding, devastated communities and tribal nations.
AmeriCorps is coordinating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, State of New Mexico, Neighbors Helping Neighbors and Long Term Recovery Group, a recovery group comprised of faith-based, nonprofit, community-based, private sector and voluntary agencies. More than 20 AmeriCorps Disaster Response team members serving with Texas Conservation Corps, AmeriCorps NCCC, Louisiana Conservation Corps, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and AmeriCorps St. Louis arrived in late January to provide recovery services, including home assessments, mucking and gutting, debris removal, roof tarping, case management referrals and community outreach.
The recovery response also included 12 AmeriCorps members who serve in the NCCC program with FEMA Corps, an innovative partnership between the agency and FEMA, to enhance the nation’s disaster response and recovery capacity while expanding career opportunities for young people.
“AmeriCorps is dedicated to standing with the people of New Mexico as they navigate this difficult period of recovery,” said AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith. “In these challenging times, we see the best of America on display as we unite to rebuild and build back stronger. We will continue to support New Mexicans and tribal nations alongside our federal and local partners and national service counterparts during this unprecedented tragedy.”
“As a former AmeriCorps member, I am glad to welcome AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team members who are heading to New Mexico to help communities impacted by last year’s fires,” said Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM). “Thanks to federal support like this, the incredible on-the-ground efforts of our local leaders, and the $3.95 billion in federal funding that New Mexico Democrats secured last year, we can continue to go all in to rebuild stronger, more resilient communities and help affected New Mexicans become whole again.”
“I am grateful that more than 30 AmeriCorps members will deploy to my hometown of Las Vegas to assist with cleanup and repairs to homes after the fires and floods,” said Rep. Leger Fernández (NM-03). “Time and again, we learn that rebuilding is most successful when we work in collaboration with each other. Our community perseveres, and AmeriCorps is another important partner on the long road to recovery.”
Following a disaster, national service acts as a force multiplier, providing the people power to significantly expand the capacity of existing organizations working on the ground. AmeriCorps programs are often involved in disaster recovery for many months to years after the initial disaster. From forest fires and floods to hurricanes and tornadoes, to terror attacks and oil spills, AmeriCorps Disaster Response teams have provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by disasters since 1994.
AmeriCorps urges anyone who wants to get involved following natural and manmade disasters to seek volunteer opportunities. For those interested in national service opportunities in emergency management, visit AmeriCorps.Gov/Serve. To learn more about AmeriCorps disaster response, visit AmeriCorps.Gov/DisasterServices.