District V - Capitan


P.O. Box 277
Capitan, NM 88316
Ph: 575-354-2231 Fax: 575-354-3052

P.O. Box 591
Capitan, NM 88316
Ph: 575-354-2748 Fax: 575-354-6012

 Capitan District Staff

The Capitan District spans the southeast corner of the state.  It is comprised of Chaves, De Baca, Eddy, Lea, Lincoln, Otero, and Roosevelt Counties.  The district provides technical assistance to landowners and has wildland fire suppression responsibilities that cover 30,877 square miles, encompassing nearly 8.6 million acres of private, non-federal and non-municipal lands.  The staff provides leadership and technical assistance on forest and watershed health projects, as well as fire safety issues.

Nick Smokovich Socorro District Timber Management Officer


NICK SMOKOVICH is the Capitan District Forester. Nick joined the Capitan District in February of 2018 after working as the Timber Management Officer for the Socorro District.  He has been with the State Forestry Division since 2001. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Nick attended Slippery Rock University where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in  Park, Recreation and Natural Resource Management.  He has several years of experience assisting landowners with forest management plans through the NM Forest Stewardship Program, working as an inspector for the American Tree Farm Program, and as an inspector for timber harvesting operations to ensure compliance with NM State Forestry’s harvesting regulations that supports sound forest practices.  Nick is the District Regional Coordinator for Firewise Communities.

Frank Silva


FRANK SILVA has been the Timber Management Officer for the Capitan District since 2011. Before that he was a seasonal wildland firefighter since 2001, working his way up to Engine Boss. He has a master's degree in Biology, and was previously a high school science teacher.  Frank also ran his family's ranching and school bus contracting business.  As Timber Management Officer, he is responsible for managing the WUI , NFL, and watershed grants in Lincoln and Otero Counties. He works with and coordinates with the Greater Ruidoso and Otero working groups.  The groups are composed of all area federal management agencies, as well as South Central Mountain RC&D, Mescalero Apache Tribe, BIA, ENMU, Little Bear Forest Reform Coalition, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Matthew Clemins


MATT CLEMINS joined the Capitan District as the Fire Management Officer in September 2019. Matt's previous experience includes Wildland Fire Management with the USDA Forest Service.

Patty Wilson


PATTY WILSON is the Administrative Management Officer for the Capitan District.  She is a proud Native New Mexican that started as seasonal employee for the district in 2012. She became the permanent District Administrative Management Officer in 2015. Patty has been a team member of the Pecos Zone Type 3 Team since 2013 and currently holds the position of Finance Section Chief Type 3.  


SB Historical Park Smokey Bear memorabiliaSmokey Bear Historical Park fall

Since 1990, the Capitan District has also managed Smokey Bear Historical Park. Exhibits at the site include a historical timeline of fire prevention programs, Smokey Bear's story and final resting place, information about fire ecology, and more.  The surrounding gardens are an exploration of New Mexico's life zones, desert to sub-alpine.  The park is a major participant in local schools' annual Conservation Days.  Smokey Bear Days are held during the first weekend in May, and the park is invovled in Capitan’s Fourth of July celebrations.  Easter and Halloween are also big events at Smokey Bear Historic Park.


Bennie Long,


Bennie Long
is the Forester Supervisor/Manager for Smokey Bear Historical Park.  Bennie previously worked at the US Forest Service’s Smokey Bear Ranger District as a wildland firefighter.  She was also a Park Ranger for many years and served as Manager for Lincoln and Fort Stanton State Monuments.  Bennie is proud to be a 20-year veteran with the Lincoln Volunteer Fire Department.  As Manager for Smokey Bear Historical Park, her top priorities are to preserve and maintain this special part of New Mexico’s history, and to provide visitors with memorable experiences. 


Phillip Heinstein


PHILLIP HEINSTEIN has been a Park Ranger for Smokey Bear Historical Park since May 2018. He comes to us from Albuquerque with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of New Mexico.  Phillip wants to utilize his combination of education, outdoor skills, and appreciation of the environment to further the goals of the park through knowledge of fire prevention and history of Smokey Bear.


Wendy Boss


WENDY BOSS joined Smokey Bear Historical Park as a Park Ranger in September of 2018.  She worked in Capitan at the local hardware store for 5 years and has 13+ years’ experience and knowledge of construction, landscaping, sprinkler systems and maintenance capabilities.  Wendy also comes to the NM State Forestry family with many years of banking experience and public relations. 

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Living with Fire

Ready, Set, Go!

Fire Adapted Communities

Firewise USA™

After Wildfire: A Guide for NM Communities

Smokey Bear

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