District I – Chama
17013 B, US Highway 84/64
Tierra Amarilla, NM 87575
HC 75, Box 100
Chama, NM 87520
The Chama Forestry District office is on US-84 at the NM-512 turnoff, 10 miles south of Chama, New Mexico. The district’s land base includes Rio Arriba and San Juan Counties, and the western half of Taos County. This area includes 357,000 acres of private commercial forestland, and 88,000 acres of state and private non-commercial forestland. The district’s primary focus is to nurture working relationships with landowners, land management agencies, and local governments to provide for landscape scale sustainable management of our forest resources. This includes various forest treatments, suppression of wildland fires, and public education.
JOSE “JOE” CARRILLO JR. has served the New Mexico Forestry Division on the Chama District since 2005. Starting off as the Staff Forester then promoted to Timber Management Officer from 2005 through 2022 Joe is now the District Forester. Born and raised in Chama, NM, he is a graduate of Escalante High School. He received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science Management with a minor in Biology from New Mexico Highlands University.
As District Forester, Joe oversees program functions of the district to include Forestry, Wildland Fire, and District Administration. With the invaluable help of his staff, he continues to work with landowners and cooperators to develop and implement fire prevention and hazardous fuel reduction projects throughout the district. Joe strives to promote district wide collaboration in the interest of landscape scale, natural resource protection and restoration. He manages the District’s Tree Farm Program and educates landowners on the importance of sustainable forest management. Joe serves as line officer and assists with the District’s Wildland Fire Program with his wildland fire qualifications. His focus is to ensure that all operations meet the objectives of the Forestry Division.
PABLO MONTENEGRO, Chama District Fire Management Officer (FMO), comes to us from Las Vegas, New Mexico has been with the district since July 2008. He is responsible for fire prevention planning, wildland fire suppression, coordinating fire training courses with Rio Arriba and San Juan Counties, and managing the district’s suppression resources. The district responds to approximately 50 wildfires each year, with another 100+ handled by cooperating rural and municipal volunteer fire departments. The district has a number of wildland urban interface areas that are of great concern in terms of protection. Pablo works with these communities and their Volunteer Fire Departments (VFD) to educate homeowners on the importance of defensible space. When various grants are available, Pablo assists the VFD’s with applying for funding to acquire apparatus and personal protective equipment. Pablo is the Chama District Regional Coordinator for Firewise Communities.
Michael Andersen, Chama District Project Forester, comes to Chama from Indiana by way of Colorado. He is an Army Veteran and graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry. In his role as Project Forester, he assists landowners with forest management plans, provides on-site technical forestry advice, and inspects timber harvesting operations to ensure compliance with NM Forestry Division’s Commercial Timber Harvesting Requirements. Michael will continue District efforts to help collaborating agencies seek funding opportunities to implement hazardous fuel removal, forest & watershed restoration, and defensible space projects. Work from these grants are designed to protect communities from wildfire, restore watershed function and maintain forest health in San Juan, Rio Arriba, and the western third of Taos Counties.
Chris Tafoya is our Forester-Basic and hails from Chama, New Mexico. A graduate of Escalante High School, he has been involved with many community organizations such as 4-H, Rio Arriba County Fair, and is an active member of the Chama Volunteer Fire Department. Since 2019, Chris has been with Forestry as an Administratively Determined (AD) Emergency Firefighter. In 2023, he joined the division as a Forester-Basic (Firefighter) where he continues to hone his skills as a leader in wildland fire fighting.
He assists our Fire Management Officer with District’s Wildland Fire Program by providing oversight and training new operational firefighters, and ensuring wildland fire engines and associated equipment, tools, and gear in proper working condition and ready and available for emergency wildland fire response at a moment’s notice. Chris also helps provide public outreach and education on the various state and national campaigns, which include FireWise, Ready-Set-Go, and the Smokey Bear Wildland Prevention campaign. Further he assists the District Forester and Project Foresters with Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and Hazardous Fuel Reduction programs. The duties include communicating and coordination with private landowners, cooperators, partner agencies, and stake holders while maintaining a safe work environment during all activities.
SUSAN BEAVER is the Chama District Business Operations Specialist. Susan keeps the administrative process flowing smoothly and ensures that the district adheres to New Mexico procurement guidelines and that budget expenditures correspond with what is allocated for the district. She is the district’s administrative officer, purchasing agent, dispatcher, budget analyst, and receptionist.