New USFS Fire Director selected

Shawna Lagarza Tom Harbour
Shawna Legarza (left) the Director of Fire and Aviation for the U.S. Forest Service’s California Region, and Tom Harbour, the Director of Fire and Aviation for the Forest Service, at the Rose Parade, January 1, 2015.

Shawna Legarza has been selected as the national Director of Fire and Aviation for the US Forest Service. She will replace Tom Harbour who retired at the end of 2015. Currently Ms. Legarza is the regional Fire Director for the Forest Service’s California region. She will start in the position on July 4.

Ms. Legarza launched her federal career with the Bureau of Land Management in 1989 as an engine crew member in Elko, NV. A short time later, she joined the Forest Service and worked as a hotshot crew member in Carson City, NV, and a Hotshot Superintendent in Durango, CO. She subsequently took on a number of leadership positions in fire and aviation that include District Fire Management Officer on the San Juan National Forest, CO, and Forest Fire Management Officer on the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California.

Ms. Legarza earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Kinesiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Doctorate of Psychology at the University of the Rockies, Colorado Springs, CO.

She will be replaced in California Region 5 by Acting Fire & Aviation Director Patty Grantham, Forest Supervisor of the Klamath National Forest. Ms. Grantham works closely on the national line officer team for fire and has received awards for her fire leadership in building community partnerships and in restoring fire-adapted landscapes. She has worked on six national forests across the West and holds a bachelor’s degree in Forest Science from the University of Washington.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

10 thoughts on “New USFS Fire Director selected”

  1. I wish her luck. I would like to know how those degrees she has are going to help her in the new position she will be filling. Seems to me that people with unrelated degrees get into these positions and have a hard time adjusting. I hope her wealth of fire experience and knowledge serves her well in this new position.

  2. I’m not sure how a “Doctorate of Psychology” has any bearing on Fire and Aviation, but oh well…maybe she can asked pilots “how they feel” after getting timed out on a fire…

  3. Hope she will do a “ride along” with Tanker and Lead crews.
    Maybe she has, but it does help…
    At least she has swung a Pulaski..

  4. She has spent a lifetime proving herself, and she has done it well. Congratulations, Shawna – you have earned this. Let the doubters doubt and you will once again rise above them and do what you need to do.

  5. Shawna’s forgotten more about fire than most of those criticizing her on here will ever know.

  6. I had the pleasure of seeing Shawna in action numerous times when she was the Supt. of the San Juan IHC. She could out hike and work most men. I wish her the best. The USFS fire and aviation program is in desperate need of strong leadership!

  7. Her professional degrees are irrelevant…fire fighting is learned through experience on the fire line…she obviously has learned those lessons well or she wouldn’t be in leadership positions…good luck to Shawna…

  8. I also new Shawna back in the day, SJ IHC, she could probably still wreck most of you pups that commented about her experience. Congrats Legz

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