Returning Heroes Wildland Firefighter Program

The Returning Heroes Wildland Firefighter Program was created to provide veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces with training and work opportunities to fight wildland fires. Previously a pilot program, Returning Heroes was made permanent and signed into legislation by Governor Susana Martinez in 2014.

What we do. Fighting wildland fires is dynamic and physically demanding work. It is both challenging and deeply rewarding. In this program, you will learn and use vital skills to manage and combat wildland fires.

Wildland crew members of the Returning Heroes program are Administratively Determined firefighters (AD's).  This means they are only called upon or hired during an actual wildland emergency. During the fire season (typically early spring through early fall), AD's may be sent throughout New Mexico, or even out of state, to assist on wildland fire emergencies. 

Who can become a Returning Hero Wildland Firefighter? To be eligible to participate, you are required to meet the following criteria:

  • Submit a completed AD Hire application.
  • In order to receive priority preference for hiring and work assignments, you must be a U.S. military veteran or reservist. Other candidates are encouraged to apply, but will not be eligible for this preference.
  • Live within two hours of Santa Fe. While fire emergencies can happen anywhere, you must report to the program’s headquarters to be dispatched to your assignment.
  • Be able to remain on fire assignments for an extended period of time, and be available at short notice (within two hours). Due to the unpredictable nature of the emergencies, involvement is seasonal and does not conform to a set schedule. 
  • Have the physical capacity to work for an extended period of time. An example would be working for approximately 16 hours per day for 14 consecutive days.
  • Have the physical capacity to perform duties in steep and/or rugged terrain under adverse weather conditions, while carrying a pack weighing up to 45 pounds. 
  • Complete the required training and physical fitness testing yearly

If you are ineligible for the Returning Heroes program but are interested in emergency wildland firefighting, there may be other opportunities available.  Please contact your local NMSF District Office.

RHP Crew CarrierRHP Red Sand Fire CA 2016







Returning Heroes
Wildland Firefighter Program
1085 Richards Ave.
Santa Fe, NM 87505

Questions?  Call 505.474.9813

Fall 2018 - Spring 2019
Training Schedule

New Hire Packet

Nomination Form

Firefighters in front of smoke column
Firefighter using drip torch


For further information regarding the Returning Heroes Wildland Firefighter Program, please call (505) 474.9813 or (505) 474.9814, or contact:

Stephanie Griego, Returning Heroes Program Supervisor

Returning Heroes Wildland Firefighter Program
1085 Richards Ave. Santa Fe, NM 87505

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