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About the Department

The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) works to protect the people of New Mexico and the nation through a comprehensive and coordinated program of mitigating hazards, preparing for emergencies, preventing attacks, and recovering from disasters regardless of cause. Our department prepares for a wide variety of emergencies, including wildfires, flooding, health crises, and domestic attacks. When necessary, the state assists localities whose capabilities are overwhelmed, and DSHEM serves as the conduit for federal assistance. Our work in emergency management is coordinated around the five mission areas of the National Preparedness Goal: prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.

DHSEM also coordinates with state and local law enforcement, as well as federal partners like the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to obtain, analyze, and distribute intelligence on possible threats to public safety. Additionally, our department facilitates and distributes tens of millions of dollars in federal grants to New Mexico communities every year. DHSEM also works closely with customs and border officials to secure our nation’s borders.

The mission of the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) is to protect the lives and property of New Mexico residents and guests from the devastating effects of fire. This goal is accomplished through promotion of public safety and fire prevention programs, as well as resources distributed to the New Mexico fire departments for fire protection services. The SFMO carries out its mission through four bureaus: Code Enforcement, Fire Investigations, Fire Service Support, and the Fire Training Academy.

Our Leadership

Adjutant General Miguel Aguilar, Interim Cabinet Secretary

Ali Rye, Deputy Secretary

Regina Chacon, Deputy Cabinet Secretary

Randy Varela, State Fire Marshal

Randy Varela was appointed as the NM State Fire Marshal in June 2022. He is a generational native of New Mexico and has over 40 years of experience in fire service, including 17 with the Fire Marshal’s Office. Randy has responded to and managed emergencies of all sizes, from small fires to large-scale disasters, and has been responsible for implementing safety protocols and training programs.

He enthusiastically shares the vision to come together as one to make positive, lasting change for New Mexicans and their futures. He is committed to leading, listening, and learning as this State Fire Marshal’s Office turns another page.

Anthony Leyba, Assistant State Fire Marshal


  • 1959: The New Mexico Office of Emergency Management is established as the Civil Emergency Preparedness Division (CEPD) of the Office of Military Affairs
  • 1979: President Carter establishes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and CEPD is reorganized to meet FEMA structural requirements
  • 1987: CEPD is moved from Office of Military Affairs to the Department of Public Safety
  • 1990: CEPD is changed to the Office of Emergency Management, within the Department of Public Safety
  • 2003: The New Mexico Office of Homeland Security is established, working in conjunction with the Office of Emergency Management
  • 2007: The two offices are joined to create the modern, cabinet-level agency of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • 2021: The State Fire Marshal’s Office joins DHSEM beginning on July 1, 2021