Tom Harbour, USFS Fire Director, announces retirement

Tom Harbour at Little Bear Fire
Tom Harbour at the Little Bear Fire, Lincoln National Forest, New Mexico, June, 2012. USFS photo.

Tom Harbour, the National Director of Fire and Aviation for the U.S. Forest Service has announced that he is going to retire after serving in the position for 11 years. He plans to leave the agency in January after a 46-year career.

Mr. Harbour headed the wildfire organization during challenging times. Fires continued the ongoing trend of becoming larger (most likely due to climate change and increasing fuels), they consumed more of the USFS budget, and the air tanker fleet decreased by 80 percent following accidents and contracting issues until it started to be reconstructed again during the last two years.

Mr. Harbour spent much of his career in the Pacific Southwest, Southwestern, Intermountain and Northern Regions. His early assignments were on the Stanislaus National Forest in California, the Challis National Forest in Idaho, and the Apache National Forest in Arizona. He later worked as District Ranger on the Modoc National Forest and was the Forest Fire Management Officer on the Angeles National Forest in southern California. He served as Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation in the Northern Region, and Regional Director, Fire and Aviation in the Intermountain Region. In 2001, he moved east to Washington D.C. to become the Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation at the agency headquarters. In 2004 he was named National Director.

Dan Olsen, currently the Deputy Director, Fire and Aviation, will serve as Acting Director after Mr. Harbour retires until the position is permanently filled.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Chris.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.