Burn boss in court today

From: Buchanan, Jacqueline – FS, CO
Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2024 8:40 AM
To: Region 6 FS employees
Subject: Malheur Situation Update 2/15/2024

Good Morning R6 Team,
Like so many of you, thoughts around the upcoming arraignment and what it means for Rick and his family have been at the forefront of my thoughts. I know this can be an anxious time, but I am hopeful that this case will ultimately be handled fairly by the courts and will not single out a federal employee for carrying out their official duties.

Based on a request from Rick’s lawyers, the arraignment date has been changed from March 4th to tomorrow, February 16th. The proceeding will be held virtually. We have not been made aware of opportunities for agency representatives or those wanting to show up in support of Rick to attend.

Rick’s attorney, provided through the Department of Justice, and Regional and Washington Office leadership will be with him every step of the way during the arraignment and in navigating whatever follows. Although we do not yet know what the outcome will be, our support will not waiver no matter how long the road to resolution may be.

Anyone wanting to express their support for Rick is welcome to send cards and tokens of solidarity to:
Attn: Rick Snodgrass
Prairie City Ranger District
327 SW Front St
Prairie City, OR 97869

We will continue to provide updates as events unfold. Thank you for all that you do and for your unparalleled dedication to each other in carrying out the agency’s mission.

Jacqueline A. Buchanan
Regional Forester
Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region
1220 SW 3rd Avenue
Portland, OR 97204

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12 thoughts on “Burn boss in court today”

  1. While I have previously posted on this site my opposition to the USFS vision of extensive prescribed burning for management of our National Forests and instead believe that the mission should be aggressive initial attack in combination with commercial (sustainable logging) and non commercial fuel reduction as well as prescribed burning, the arrest and indictment of Mr. Snodgrass is incomprehensible and politically motivated. I sincerely hope his attorneys are successful in getting either a dismissal of the charges or a not guilty verdict. The precedent possibly being set is very concerning.

  2. Right on cue, Forest Service leadership makes a public show of standing behind one of their legally threatened employees; as far behind as possible, to be sure. It is easy to be supportive when you know that you are not the person who might be put in jail for the heinous crime of (checks notes) doing a difficult, dangerous job to the best of your ability.

  3. “…Based on a request from Rick’s lawyers, the arraignment date has been changed from March 4th to tomorrow, February 16th. The proceeding will be held virtually. We have not been made aware of opportunities for agency representatives or those wanting to show up in support of Rick to attend…”

    Anyone else find it curious that the arraignment date was changed? I’m curious also why it is virtual. Is this to prevent any persons who would like to be there in Rick’s defense? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. Considering that it was Rick’s lawyers that asked for the date change I doubt there is some conspiracy afoot.

    2. I have operated water tenders on wildland fires since 2008. I’ve seen my share of controlled burns go bad. In the worst case, they do not achieve the objectives of steering the fire away from structures, private property, etc…

      The decision to conduct these burns is made at a command level and that is where the responsibility should rest. This case is a showboat for somebody with political aspirations. If the Fire Boss is not acquitted, all people with that qualification should have it expunged. Period. Those who put their lives on the line should NEVER be blamed for poor command decisions.

      1. Right on, Philip, and ALL FOUR signatures are on that burn plan. Both the sheriff and the D.A. have no comprehension of how federal law and jurisdiction work here, despite the ridiculous length of time they both spent “investigating” this “crime.” I’m not sure about removing quals from redcards, though …

  4. I think that the Forest Service should charge the arresting official for “interfering with a federal official while doing their duties,” because now a precedent is set that federal burn bosses can be arrested. This endangers the mission, undercuts the wildfire crisis, and creates a chilling effect on employees that don’t think burn boss responsibilities are worth the risk. Burn boss isn’t a required qual, it isn’t accounted for in your hourly pay rate, and it makes no sense to even do it. People will drop that qual, and they already are. That’s my opinion.

  5. Rick Snodgrass you are a brave person.
    I have reached out to senators Wyden and Merkley and asked for their support for you!

  6. Wow, what a waste of tax payers dollars. 18 acres on a ranch whoo hoo probably did more good than bad, further he was following orders, things happen fact of the matter he should be applauded for getting right on it and handling it period what a joke. You can’t control weather might as well arrest all the monkies on top of the ladder right down to the weatherman ! Ask why I am qualified ? 22 years cal fire ret. thank you very much. I was a sawyer and very rarely went on structure incidents 90% wild land so I know how control burns can go, s**t happens. Gd luck boss !

  7. Rick Snodgrass – I am with you!
    I can’t imagine what you and your family are going through, but I have a fair idea.
    Be strong. Justice for you will prevail.
    Let us know if/how we can help you.
    Ken Kerr


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