Yosemite NP Fire Chief to testify before congressional committee

A House of Representatives committee will hear testimony on Thursday September 22 from Kelly Martin, Yosemite National Park’s Chief of Fire and Aviation Management. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s stated purpose is to look further into cases of sexual harassment and misconduct in light of new reports about what they call serious wrongdoing.

Generally this committee has been very critical of the administration over a range of topics.

Earlier this year we wrote about an article in the Huffington Post in which Kathryn Joyce described what appeared to be a stunning culture of serious sexual harassment being virtually tolerated in some locations within the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. Ms. Joyce described numerous disturbing examples of female employees, including a wildland firefighter, being aggressively degraded and humiliated with little if any repercussions for the assailant. In some cases the victims were fired.

In a description of the hearing on the Committee’s web site, they wrote:

In many cases, managers in senior leadership positions were not held accountable for their actions and were able to move laterally or retire to escape disciplinary action. Since these reports have become public, additional allegations of serious harassment and misconduct have to come to light at some of the country’s most prominent national parks.

Two other National Park Service employees will also be testifying on Thursday, Michael Reynolds, the NPS Deputy Director for Operations, and Brian Healy, Fisheries Program Manager at Grand Canyon National Park.

Chief Martin’s prepared testimony has not yet been made public.

The hearing is scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m. EDT in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building. It should be available on a live stream on the Committee’s website.

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

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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.