Smokey the Bear has nothing on this guy!
Randy Moore is making history as the first Black chief of the United States Forest Service in the agency’s 116-year history, Black Enterprise reports.
Moore started his federal career in 1978 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service in North Dakota. He worked his way up through the ranks, eventually relocating in the same position to California in 2007. There, he made a name for himself, sitting on the front lines of the tough issues, including climate change, devastating wildfires, and community-centered work in the Forest service industry. Now, Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack has appointed Moore to become the new chief of the U.S. Forest Service.
The former Pacific Southwest regional forester will step into his new position just in time for the 2021 wildfire season, which could be intense given the record high temperatures and severe drought in California. Last year, the state endured 9,917 fires which consumed some 4.3 million acres. This year, experts are predicting that those numbers will increase, potentially breaking records.
Vilsack spoke about the significance of the appointment, saying, “Moore 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.”
Since 2018, the chief position has been shaky, Vicki Christiansen taking over for former Chief Tony Tooke, who resigned amid misconduct allegations. Then, Christiansen announced she would be retiring later this month, promising to assist with the transition of power as the Forest Service geared up for a rough summer of fire activity.
Democratic Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein, praised Moore's selection as Forest Service chief.
“California understands all too well the challenges facing our forests and I’m glad a Californian will head efforts to tackle them,” she told reporters.
As chief, Moore will oversee 30,000 employees and 18 national forests in California and Hawaii in his new role.
Congratulations, Chief Moore! You got this!
Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service