Randy Moore selected as new Chief of the U.S. Forest Service

Randy Moore Forest Service
Randy Moore, 20th Chief of the U.S. Forest Service.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that Randy Moore will serve as the 20th Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.

“Randy Moore has been a catalyst for change and creativity in carrying out the Forest Service’s mission to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations,” said Secretary Vilsack. “In his role as Regional Forester, Randy has been a conservation leader on the forefront of climate change, most notably leading the Region’s response to the dramatic increase in catastrophic wildfires in California over the last decade. His proven track record of supporting and developing employees and putting communities at the center of the Forest Service’s work positions him well to lead the agency into the future at this critical time in our country.”

Upon swearing in, Moore will serve as the first African American to hold the role of Chief of the Forest Service.

Current Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen will step down from her role on July 26. Chief Christiansen and Regional Forester Moore will continue to collaborate on an intentional leadership transition between now and then as the Forest Service gears up for a tough summer of predicted elevated fire activity across the Western United States.


Randy Moore has been serving as Regional Forester in the Pacific Southwest Region in California since 2007 where he has responsibility for 18 national forests, covering one-fifth of the state on 20 million acres of land. Additionally, he oversees State and Private Forestry programs in Hawaii and the U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands.

Previously, Moore served as the Regional Forester for the Eastern Region, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for five years.

Moore started his career in conservation in 1978 with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in North Dakota. His Forest Service career began on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests in Colorado and the Comanche and Cimarron National Grasslands in Kansas. He served as Deputy Forest Supervisor on the National Forests of North Carolina and the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri before serving as Forest Supervisor of the Mark Twain National Forest. Moore also has national-level experience in Washington, D.C., serving as acting Associate Deputy Chief for the National Forest System and the National Deputy Soils Program Manager.

Moore earned a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He and his wife Antoinette have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Jim, Shannon, and Tom.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

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.

15 thoughts on “Randy Moore selected as new Chief of the U.S. Forest Service”

  1. Chief Moore,
    Congratulations on your new post.
    I have a suggestion that might make an impression as you begin your tenure:

    Now, while NW Montana is socked in with the smoke of wild fire, it is a good time to show official public support for the health of Montanans. Please advocate the following change in forest management policy.

    Instead of controlled burning, which prevents some fire, would you consider a new policy; that is, chipping the forest debris that, left in place, serves as ladder fuel.

    CHIPPING would require the necessary machinery, including rubber-tired delivery systems and the power to operate that machinery. Chipping would also require combing the forest floor for debris and slash, requiring additional manpower.

    The public should be educated about the advantages of this new approach:
    . ladder fuels will be eliminated,
    . the sharp reduction of smoke during clear-air seasons. This will relieve unnecessary pulmonary problems,
    . job opportunities will be created with the aim of reducing unemployment in Montana, reminiscent of the WPA,
    . should fire occur, piles of chips burn slowly and cooler because of oxygen reduction. In the great majority of cases, a burning chip pile is a point problem, not a raging wildfire,
    . chip piles do not increase insect threat to living trees, since dead wood is digested by species not drawn to living trees,
    . If all goes well, chip piles sink into the soil
    … retaining moisture
    … increasing carbon sequestration
    … providing soil enrichment
    . otherwise, but at a greater cost, these organic chips can be removed from the forest and used elsewhere to advantage.

    Our present policy of controlled burning has a number of disadvantages
    . too many controlled burns escape control,
    . control burns exacerbate the damage to the already burdened lungs of Montanans, and others nationally, who are already suffering from:
    . COPD
    . asthma
    . emphysema
    . and the conditions listed above are further exacerbated by Coronavirus in its many variations, and
    . it is generally understood that controlled burning is a cost-efficient but lazy, dangerous and spotty way of ladder reduction.
    Thank you for considering this. It would be a bold new approach and, more difficult, convincing the sources of funding to support this program will be difficult; however, the benefits far outreach the costs.

    1. Sir, you have the right plan. Instead of burning 1000’s upon 1000’s acres and lost damage to the water shed and the list will go on. To me it would be the right thing to do. There will be fires still but the will be more manageable less costly and the risk to property like losing a Town should be bettered controlled .

  2. I have not heard good things about Randy. He has done nothing to help stop harassment, sexual harassment, assault, sexual assault or rapes. I hope things change, starting with dealing with pay disparities, including pay disparities between sex and race. I hope he also changes the FS attitude about fire suppression. Finally, deal with the FS addiction to FIRE money. But those are all hopes and dreams, the reality is…his past 19 years shows us he is a company man, a “yes” man, so I don’t have much hope for change.

  3. A young firefighting asks Randy Moore during a Q&A session when he was RF.

    Yff: What is being done to address the pay disparity between Fed and State firefighters here in CA?

    Randy Moore: If you don’t like it you can leave.

    Yehhhhhhh, not too sure about this guy.

    1. In the 1980’s, while discussing a different issue about working conditions, I was told the same thing by the Forest FMO on the Cleveland N F.

    2. …And leave they did for jobs with strong unions, good wages, benefits, work/life balance.

  4. Way to Randy More !!!
    Could not have recommend a better person for the job !
    Thank you !!!
    Warner R. McGrew, Retired Fire Chief Santa Barbara city Fire Department

  5. Chief Moore,
    Congratulation on your appointment. I hope that you will be the one to go to bat for our US Forest Service Firefighters to give them the resources and pay they deserve so that we can retain these great young men and fill the crews to capacity so we are not operating short handed in California and abroad.

    All the best,
    Dave Jewell

  6. Dear Chief Moore,

    Best Wishes and Congratulations on your new Position!


  7. Good luck to Randy. Lot’s of challenges. Not clear that his handling of CA fires for the past 14 years is actually something to be proud of however. There have been many opportunities to lead change in managing fire that he’s squandered for political expediency. The State of CA is finally now leading these changes – not the Forest Service. So, I’m skeptical that Randy has what it takes to lead the agency in a time of great need.

  8. Good sign they picked a fire experienced person. I have not met Mr. Moor but everyone who I know who has is very impressed. Good luck there are lots of mountains to climb.


Comments are closed.