The fire is over and the floods have eased for the moment, but community leaders know the road to recovery after the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire will take years. 

In mid-August, some volunteer groups in Mora and San Miguel Counties joined to form a Long Term Recovery Group. Their mission is to help the communities and families affected by the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire and subsequent floods resolve long-term needs such as restoring their homes and properties.

The group has worked side by side with Neighbors Helping Neighbors – founded by Janna Lopez and NMHU coach Bob DeVries – out of the Sala de Madrid on the NMHU campus at 801 University Ave. 

Together the two groups – which share many of the same volunteers – have been collecting information on specific unmet needs for individuals and families across the burn scar area from Mineral Hill to Chacon. 

They have more than 150 unmet needs cases to date that they are now processing – looking for the funding, labor, and materials to help them one family at a time. 

They’ve divided the cases, with Neighbors Helping Neighbors working to meet emergency and short-term needs such as food, household goods, simple property repairs and clean-up assistance.  The Mora-San Miguel Long Term Recovery Group will be focused over the next year on larger, more costly needs, such as finding the money and construction crews to help families whose primary houses burned in the fire or who lost their wells and roads in the floods. More than 900 structures burned in the fire, including hundreds of houses. 

Paul Hesch, who is pastor at Victory Life Church and works with Lopez and DeVries to manage the unmet needs cases, said they have four cases they hope to finish out soon – from replacing propane tanks to weatherizing RVs that some families plan to stay in through the winter. 

Both the LTRG and Neighbors Helping Neighbors have worked closely with federal and state agencies, encouraging families to apply for all available grant programs and to be patient with the process. They are also working with other nonprofits, trying to match up those with needs to those who have the right resources. 

Neighbors Helping Neighbors has been serving hot meals and providing food boxes and water to families since the first people evacuated due to the fire in April. The group also has household goods and clothes available at Sala De Madrid; they are now also collecting winter coats and gloves along with sturdy boots to give out. 

The LTRG is working to open a similar community resource center in mid-October in Mora, which will be managed by Joseph Griego. 

On Saturday, Oct. 1, Neighbors Helping Neighbors and the Mora-San Miguel Long Term Recovery Group hosted a community meal and resource fair in Las Vegas. 

“We had about 100 people,” said Janna Lopez, the event organizer. The Farm Service Agency, New Mexico Environment Department, NM Legal Aid and FEMA were all on hand to help people with questions and applications. NM Legal Aid paid for the food provided at Saturday’s event.

The Mora-San Miguel Long Term Recovery Group board are co-chairs Jennifer Carbajal and Dr. Edward A. Martinez, vice-chair Paula Garcia, treasurer Patrick Alarid and at-large Dr. Kimberly Blea, Elmo Baca, Paul Hesch and William Taylor.

 The chairs of the various LTRG committees include Janna Lopez, Paula Garcia, Bob DeVries, Paul Hesch, Yolanda Cruz, Joseph Griego, Jill Cline, Patrick Alarid, Anita Moss and Staci Matlock.

Find out more about the Mora-San Miguel Long Term Recovery Group at

The site also has upcoming community events.  

If you have an unmet need related to the fire/floods or you would like to volunteer, email .

The New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute is helping the LTRG and Neighbors Helping Neighbors with communications and by maintain the ArcGIS Hub site.

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