Foresters used to lead the Forest Service’s war against wildfire. No longer. Believing it to be losing the battle, the Forest Service has turned to the real military to lead its troops into combat. Fire and Aviation Deputy Director Bob Baird has a military record that would engender pride in any veteran: Branch Head, Center For Irregular Warfare at United States Marine Corps, Deputy, 1st Marine Division G-3 Operations at US Marine Corps, Chief of Plans, I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF). A graduate of the Marine Corps University and Navy War College, Baird may know
little nothing about fire ecology, but I’ll bet he knows how to take the fight to the enemy.
Aviation Management Assistant Director Art Hinaman is an Army War College graduate with a Masters in Strategic Studies and 28 years as an Army aviator, including Air Cavalry, Attack Helicopter, Assault Helicopter, and Air Ambulance service.
Aviation Strategic Planner Ezequiel Parrilla has an impressive resume as a B1 and B-52 pilot including service in Iraq and security assistance to the Colombian Ministry of Defense, Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines (those skills could come in useful in northern California!).
These men are a part of a military hiring binge the Forest Service initiated a couple of years ago to surge its war against wildfire.
How’s that working?