Members announced for Wildland Fire Commission

47 are part of the group

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Fall Creek Area of San Miguel County, NM, Hermits Peak - Calf Canyon Fire
Fall Creek Area of San Miguel County, NM, Hermits Peak – Calf Canyon Fire, May 8, 2022.

The members of a new Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission were announced today. The group is tasked with recommending federal policies and strategies to more effectively prevent, mitigate, suppress, and manage wildland fires, including the rehabilitation of land affected by wildland fires.

The establishment of the commission was required by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, H.R.3684, signed by the President on November 15, 2021, which became Public Law Number 117-58.

More than 500 applications were received, and 36 non-federal members — 18 primary and 18 alternates — were selected. Along with 11 federal members, the commission will be co-chaired by Departments of Agriculture, the Interior, and FEMA leadership. Commission members represent federal agencies, Tribes, state and local municipalities, and private entities, as directed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

*The selections of the members were made by the co-chairs of the Commission.

A government official who is not authorized to speak publicly on the issue said the makeup of the commission “Has been close hold between fire leadership and intergovernmental affairs. Need to know basis; tighter than budget issues or executive orders.”

The members have their work cut out for them, already up to seven months late on mileposts. Their appointments were to be made no more than 60 days after the date the legislation became law, which works out to January 14, 2022. Their initial meeting was to be held within 30 days after all members have been appointed — no later than February 13, 2022. They are to meet at least once every 30 days, in person or remotely and will serve “without compensation” but can be reimbursed for travel expenses and per diem.


Their assignments, according to the law, fall into two broad categories; here are some of the highlights:

1. Develop recommendations to mitigate and manage wildland fires

By February 13, 2023 develop a report describing recommendations to prevent, mitigate, suppress, and manage wildland fires; consider protection of human life, short- and long-term forest management; wildland-urban interface; utility corridors; rehab after fires; streamlining environmental reviews; and, recommendations for modernizing and expanding the use of technology, including satellite technology, remote sensing, unmanned aircraft systems, and any other type of emerging technology to prevent, mitigate, suppress, and manage wildland fires.

2. Report on aerial wildland firefighting equipment, strategy, and inventory

By March 30, 2022 prepare an inventory of surplus cargo and passenger aircraft that may be used for wildland firefighting purposes.

By June 28, 2022 develop an assessment of the number of aircraft needed to fight wildland fires through 2030. The report will include an assessment of the federal government’s authorities to provide or sell surplus aircraft to Federal, State, or local organizations to be used for wildland firefighting, and, identify any additional authorities that are needed. The Commission is directed to consider all private and public sector options for accessing necessary aircraft and aircraft parts, including procurement, contracting, retrofitting, and public-private partnerships.

Membership (as announced July 7, 2022). The categories of membership and types of expertise were specified by the legislation. For example, “not fewer than one representative from wildland firefighters” was required. That was fulfilled by the selection of Kelly Martin, former Chief of Fire and Aviation at Yosemite National Park, currently president of Grassroots Wildland Firefighters. One of 47. However, other members of the committee presumably have on-the-ground fire experience in the past.

Listed below are the members:

Federal Co-Chairs

Department of Agriculture
Secretary Thomas Vilsack

Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Administrator Deanne Criswell

Department of Interior
Secretary Deb Haaland

Federal Members

Bureau of Indian Affairs
Johnna Blackhair, Deputy Director

Bureau of Land Management
Mike Nedd, Deputy Director Ops

Environmental Protection Agency
Erika Sasser Director of Health and Environmental Impacts, Office of Air and Radiation

FEMA- Mitigation Framework Leadership Group (MitFLG)
Angela Gladwell, Director Hazard Mitigation Assistance

FEMA- Recovery Support Function Leadership Group (RSFLG)
Ana Montero, Director, Public Assistance Division

National Park Service
Jennifer Flynn, Associate Director Visitor and Resource Protection

National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG)
Shane McDonald, Executive Director

US Fish and Wildlife Service
Cynthia Martinez, Chief National Wildlife Refuge System

US Forest Service
Jaelith Hall-Rivera, Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Joannie Chin, Director, Engineering Laboratory

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
John Murphy, Chief Operating Officer for the National Weather Service

Non-Federal Members (includes alternate members, listed second)

State Hazard Mitigation
Kathy Holder, Utah State Hazard Mitigation Officer, UT
Tim Cook, Washington State Hazard Mitigation Officer, WA

State Department of Natural Resources, Forestry, or Agriculture, or similar State agency
Sonya Germann, Montana State Forester/Forestry Division Administrator, MT
Dan Gibbs, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, CO

State Department of Energy or similar State agency
Elizabeth (Eli) King, Washington State Energy Emergency Management Director, WA
David Fogerson, Nevada Emergency Manager and Homeland Security Chief, NV

County Government Representative
Lucinda Andreani, Deputy County Manager, Coconino County, AZ
William (Bill) Cox, Rich County Commissioner, UT

Municipal Government Representative
Kathleen (Kat) McIntyre, Forest Health Program Manager, PhD, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, CA
Neil Chapman, Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project Manager, AZ

Public Utilities Industry
Madelene McDonald, Senior Watershed Scientist, Denver Water, CO
Andy Fecko, General Manager, Placer County Water Agency, CA

Property Development Industry
David Sampson, CEO of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, TX
Michele Steinberg, Wildfire Division Director, National Fire Protection Association, MA

Tribal Government Representative
Bill Tripp, Director of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy, Karuk Tribe, CA
Gary Jackson, Tribal Vice-Chairman, Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, OR

Wildland Firefighter
Kelly Martin, President of Grassroots Wildland Firefighters, ID
Nathan Miller, Wildland Superintendent for the City of Santa Fe Fire Department, NM

501(c) 3 organization with expertise in forest management and environmental conservation
Marek Smith, North America Fire Director for The Nature Conservancy, NC
Scott Miller, Senior Regional Director for the Southwest Region, The Wilderness Society, CO

Forestry/Industry Representative
Cody Desautel, Natural Resource Director, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, WA
Neal Ewald, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Green Diamond Resource Company, CA

Science (social and ecological)
Kimiko Barrett, PhD Senior wildfire researcher and policy analyst, Headwaters Economics, MT
Scott Stephens, PhD, Professor of Fire Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA

Jessica Morse, Deputy Secretary for Forest and Wildland Resilience, California Natural Resources Agency, CA
Ann Bartuska, PhD, Senior Advisor, Resources for the Future, Washington DC

Prescribed Fire
John Weir, Associate Extension Specialist, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University, OK
Craig Thomas, Director, The Fire Restoration Group, CA

Forest Stewardship and Reforestation
Sam Cook, Executive Director of Forest Assets & Vice President, NC State University Natural Resources Foundation, NC
Brian Kittler, Senior Director of Forest Restoration, American Forests, OR

Health Equity
Jamiah Adams, Senior Vice President of Diversity and Justice, The Climate Reality Project, CA
Kari Nadeau, MD/PhD, Director of the Sean N. Parker Center of Allergy and Asthma Research, Stanford University, CA

National Wildland Fire Cohesive Strategy
Jim Hubbard, retiree, USDA NRE Under Secretary/US Forest Service Deputy Chief, CO
Bob Roper, Senior Policy Advisor, Western Fire Chiefs Association, CA

State Fire Response
Mariana Ruiz-Temple, Oregon State Fire Marshal, OR
Mike Morgan, Division Director, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, CO

*The article was corrected on July 9 to show that the selections of the Commission’s members were not made by the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee as we were told by a USFS fire communications specialist, but they were instead made by the co-chairs of Commission, as verified by Larry Moore, the Communications Coordinator of the Office of Communications, US Department of Agriculture. 

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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.

26 thoughts on “Members announced for Wildland Fire Commission”

  1. Just another meaningless committee of the same people that sailed the ship aground in the first place. Hall-Rivera???? Really?

    I will ignore them, delete any emails that are produced by them and continue to manage my people to the best of my ability. I’ll do this until Sept 2023 when our “raises” are rescinded and my resignation is immediately tendered. FS is terminally afflicted.

  2. I see no mention of who will facilitate a commission whose membership, by design, is made up of so many entities with widely varying agendas, Without a clear unbiased and independent facilitator, who can herd these cats, this commission has every chance of degenerating into a morass of dis-organized “cubicle wars”. Unfortunately, the outcome would be predictable. Lots of time spent, lots of emails and paperwork generated with no coherent strategy emerging, all on everyone’s tax dollar.
    Short and sweet,” less suits, more boots.”

  3. Reminds me of an old cartoon of a Camel designed by committee. A radically diverse group of vested self interests with their own agendas that they will espouse with no regards towards consensus. Even more indicative of a commission who is doomed to failure,I see no mention of a professional facilitator with no association with any of the entities who is unbiased and really understands how tho herd a whole bunch of diverse entities towards consensus.
    What I see is a whole lot of time and money invested with no actionable recommendations or conclusions and will result in absolutely nothing being accomplished. We used to call them WOFTAM’s in the military. Waste of F****** Time and Money. More boots and less suits!

  4. Hall-Rivera is the face of fire for the USFS on this committee- what a joke! Thought she was fired? She has no leadership or management experience. Yet alone fire experience. And yet keeps being our voice for fire and aviation. Where is our fire Director? And no CAL FIRE rep- good lord. Who picked this group. Good luck with this committee- can’t wait to hear what they produce.

  5. Here my suggestion for the report. Create a National Wildfire Agency (NWA). You can call it whatever you want, but put it under DHS. The NPS, FS, and BLM can still perform prescribed burns, but they have to get state and federal permits. (This would create some oversight or at least the illusion of oversight). If there is a wildfire it has to go through NWA. NWA would have Congress’ authority to “manage” the fire. I say manage because in some causes they could observe the fire and treat it like a prescribed burn and other cases they would need to suppress the fire. We need to get NPS, FS, and BLM out of the business of wildfires and get them back to managing the land. If they were managing the land, then many of these wildfires would not be as extreme. People say that these wildfires are extreme, because of climate change and that is not true. Wildfires cause climate change. Not the other way around. These wildfires are caused by mismanagement. So, there needs to be a group of people who manage the land and another group that manages wildfires. Peace out!!!

    1. Winner, winner chicken dinner…SR wins the day on this commentary set….let’s do more of this….we need to blow up the status quo here…we appreciate all the hard work that the current structure has poured into the “problem”, but it ain’t working….the tax paying citizens deserve more than “trying our best, but we don’t have the resources….”

      The best way to turnaround a struggling business, family or organization is to dismantle and rebuild….thank god we have the wildfire commission to do so!!!!! NOT…

  6. They weren’t looking for tactical or fire ops strategy expertise. Not in their charge. Read the legislation and Senate committee hearing notes. Folks have cred for the expertise they were chosen for. Would we all chose the same folks and areas of expertise? Of course not. Would we select the topics to be addressed, probably only some of the same ones. But the rules were set in legislation, and they played the cards they were dealt. This is not a new federal fire policy review–that was not legislated. Should other areas be looked at? Yes, but not necessarily by this commission. If they miss the mark by bringing back the wrong rock, the Senate members will say so; no one will get a free pass.

    1. Copy, thanks. Sounds like a big group to come to consensus on anything, though. Believe it when I see it. Hope they come up with credible solutions.

  7. I guess I thought this group would involve lower level folks. We need the 20 foot view from folks on the ground, more than the 50,000 foot view this group is likely to toss back and forth. I wonder how many GS-7 to 11 (or equivalent) folks put in for this. Kelly will be the only voice for the wildland ff, I wish her luck.

  8. @Frank….Hall-Rivera had nothing to do with the development of PODs. She may have latched on to their utility, but had nothing to do with the development.

    1. I agree MSO– Frank are you bitter towards the FS? I know you work for the FWS or DOI, what you say is usually your own opinion and it doesn’t make sense or have rationale. Hey Frank how about we work together and solve problems instead of pointing fingers at either the Forests or the Managers. These folks (FS, Miss Hall, Mr. Randy Moore) are doing what they can with limited to no resources. What is your point to bash the Forest Federal system including Dr. Steven J. Pyne?
      Keep your drama and option to the facts.

      1. Come’on CNP – your commentary about the appointed commissioners “trying to do what they can with what they got” is so two decades ago. Fire is a national security threat. When is a FS Chief of someone from the BLM going to pound the table and demand more funding for everything we utilize in fighting wildfires? More pay for the ground forces, more money for rolling stock, more money for aerial resources, more money for predictive and detection resources….the “Leadership” that has sat in front of Congress over the last 6-8 years has had the opportunity to do something great/ballsy, but they were too concerned about the political blowback. Grow a set and do your job. This commission is full of people that will take the practice of wildland fire fighting BACKWARDs…..NO ONE from CalFire? How the hell do they leave them out?…The Nature Conservancy gets a seat but NO ONE who actually knows how to control and extinguish a fire does? Wasn’t this all about getting an inventory of aerial assets pulled together so they could determine what they needed 5 and 10 years out? Senator Romney and his staff that drafted this original legislation need to pull the plug on this list and start all over…this is a sham…this is exactly how you shouldn’t lead and get things done…

  9. So I have a question…. At the bottom is a copy of the wording from the application request that was sent out. I see a lot of government lines and connections both of those current and retired. I see a heavy influence of the western and eastern coasts and the southwest with a little of the great plains and rocky mountain regions. Mostly all government. I do not see much of diversity within the group with uneven representation from the different regions that face their own unique issues and geographies. I also see no real agricultural, private citizens, or large and small business and contractor representation. (Private sector)

    The list seems heavy at the top, light weight in the middle, and non existent at the bottom with the first-line stakeholders(private citizens and fire responders primarily) that the results of this will effect the most whether proactive or reactive to fire activities.

    Lot of the same names over alot of years does not help to breed innovative and different new perspective and ideas on the same issues.

    “commission will represent federal agencies, state, local, and Tribal governments, as well as the private sector………….The Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission now accepting applications until midnight, Pacific Standard Time, March 25, 2022. for volunteer members from diverse backgrounds, with a specific focus on those who represent non-federal interests.”

  10. They should have an active IHC superintendent or someone who is active in the field on there.

  11. I’m sure they’ll come up with all kinds of good ideas and solutions to all kinds of complex issues. Maybe they’ll find the 187 hidden VLATs too.

  12. Jaelith Hall-Rivera still works for the Forest Service? Didn’t she get fired for lieing to Congress? And Hubbard is on this thing? Isn’t he one of the reasons they’re in this mess? This is a complete waste of time and money. Plus, I thought the deadlines for this thing had already passed. Whatever!

  13. Bill, the recent establishment of the wildfire mitigation team has been announced. That said, the utility infrastructure is represented by 2 water employees. I take serious issue with these appointments since we as a nation have said electric energy is paramount, yet electric energy delivery is seriously exposed to wildfire, not water. I suggest these appointments are political and not based on representation on home land security…,

    Get Outlook for iOS

  14. Good call to get Kelly on the Commission. Class act. As for the rest, I’ll reserve judgement.
    Kelly – speak quietly, but carry a BIG megaphone.

  15. Wow! I see very few people with fire or aviation experience. I guess they will be interviewing lots of folks who are SME’s? I’m doing my best to stay positive, but I really don’t have much hope of anything of value coming out of this. Just a waste of money that could be better spent on better aircraft, or more firefighters. But then again, why would we expect anything different?

  16. Here’s my idea if I was on this commission: open up VIPR contracts for UAS so we can have more available when we really need them!

  17. A government official who is not authorized to speak publicly on the issue said the makeup of the commission “Has been close hold between fire leadership and intergovernmental affairs. Need to know basis; tighter than budget issues or executive orders.”

    Really now?

    By March 30, 2022 prepare an inventory of surplus cargo and passenger aircraft that may be used for wildland firefighting purposes.

    And who, pray tell in this group of people, other than possibly Jim Hubbard, is TRULY qualified to speak about available airframes in the civilian or military world?

    This could be on the level of those 1990’s airtankers studies that really diddn’t involve industry to the depths it ought to have

    1. Add, today there is still no contract for large aircraft transport…. All the crews that have finished their assignment in AK and are ready to come home have to stay in AK a few more days until the FS contracting folks get it done and get the jet loads of crews back home.. (We promise work life balance… Except when you go north.. Instead of 14 we want 21 out of you… Sorry about the Uber ride home.. Just a couple more days)

      And resupply AK with crews from the lower 48.

      The system is broken. Tail is wagging the dog

      1. Then do 21. Or don’t . Bugs are brutal. But are you only a “wildland firefighter” (that just got a hefty pay raise) when it’s comfortable? Be willing to do what it takes.


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