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Forest Service gets a new chief

Published on 11 October 2018

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue swore in Vicki Christiansen as the 19th chief of the USDA Forest Service this morning in Washington, D.C. Christiansen has been serving as interim chief since March of this year. Following his announcement yesterday, Perdue issued the following statement:

“As a former wildland firefighter and fire manager, Chief Christiansen knows what’s needed to restore our forests and put them back to work for the taxpayers. With seven years at the Forest Service and 30 years with the states of Arizona and Washington, Vicki’s professional experience makes me confident that she will thrive in this role and hit the ground running.”

Vicki Christiansen’s background

Vicki Christiansen has been serving as the interim chief at the USDA’s Forest Service in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, she was deputy chief for State and Private Forestry, where she had oversight of Fire and Aviation Management, Tribal Relations, Forest Health Protection, Cooperative Forestry, Grey Towers and Conservation Education. She joined the Forest Service in 2010 as the deputy director of Fire and Aviation Management. Christiansen has worked extensively on the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, bringing her experience as a line officer, land manager, wildland firefighter and state forester to the effort.

Prior to joining the Forest Service, she served as the Arizona state forester and director of the Arizona Division of Forestry. She was responsible for the protection of 22 million acres of state and private lands in Arizona, including wildland fire management. As state forester, Christiansen represented Arizona at the national and state level on forest health and wildland fire issues. She was chair of the Wildland Fire Committee for the National Association of State Foresters.

Christiansen also served as the Washington state forester, where she had a 26-year career with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). She started as a wildland firefighter while still in college and held many different positions at Washington DNR with a strong emphasis in operations, managing state trust lands and regulating forest practices on state and private lands in Washington state. Her first permanent position was as a forester responsible for the reforestation of state trust lands in the Mount Saint Helens blast zone. Christiansen has been a wildland firefighter and fire manager for 36 years. She has numerous credentials in the wildland fire program with a special expertise as a fire line-blasting adviser. Christiansen has a Bachelor of Science in forest management from the University of Washington (1983, cum laude). She is married to a fire chief (retired) and has two grown sons.  end mark

—From a USDA press release

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