The U. S. Forest Service has appointed a person that has no on-the-ground fire experience listed in her bio to oversee “Fire and Aviation Management” in the California Region.
The USFS Regional Forester, Randy Moore, announced in a press release today that he has chosen Jeanne Wade Evans, the Forest Supervisor on the San Bernardino National Forest, for the position of Deputy Regional Forester for Fire and Aviation Management as well as State and Private Forestry.
According to the the press release, after she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Resources and Agriculture in 1977, Ms. Evans’ experience includes the following:
- Range Conservationist on a district (Arizona)
- District Ranger (Arizona)
- Natural Resource Specialist for Rangeland Stewardship (Washington, DC)
- Deputy Director for Forest and Rangelands (Washington, DC)
- Policy Specialist for Fire Management Hazardous Fuels (Washington, DC)
- Forest Supervisor, San Bernardino National Forest (in southern California)
- And now, Deputy Regional Forester for Fire and Aviation Management as well as State and Private Forestry for the Pacific Southwest Region, which is basically California.
The USFS in California has an extremely large and complex wildfire program. It would take an extraordinary person with incomprehensible brain power and skills to manage that fire program IF they have no on-the-ground fire experience or don’t know which end of a Pulaski to hold when cutting fire line. Not that a Deputy Regional Forester will need to drive a Pulaski, but if they can’t spell “ICS” or relate to what is happening out on the ground, they are liable to drive the fire program into … yes, the ground.
I worked in fire management for the USFS in southern California for 20 years. But then, the Regional fire management overhead actually had fire experience. Apparently those days are long gone.
Maybe I should be more open-minded. Has the fire program in California transmogrified so much since 1990 that a Range Conservationist is the best choice for the job?