Bob Baird, new Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region Fire Chief
Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service

Editor’s note: This was taken from a press release from the U.S. Forest Service.

The U.S. Forest Service has named Robert Baird as the director of Fire and Aviation Management for its Pacific Southwest Region. Since May 2014, Baird has been the forest supervisor on the Los Padres National Forest.

Besides on-ground fire experience at the LPNF, Baird has fire program-management experience. He is the former deputy national fire director for Operations, Aviation and Risk Management on the Fire and Aviation Management staff in the Forest Service’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C.

He also served an assignment as the acting associate deputy director of Cal Fire, where he fostered partnership and cooperation with the Forest Service in California.

While in Washington, Baird oversaw the National Interagency Fire Center and developed the plans leading to the transition of next-generation air tankers.

Prior to joining the Forest Service, Baird spent 24 years in the U.S. Marine Corps where he achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring in early 2012. He is a veteran of combat operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a Forest Service statement.

In a press release, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore said, “I’m very pleased to welcome Bob Baird as our Regional Director for Fire and Aviation Management. Bob has demonstrated expertise in managing large, complex organizations and he has developed innovative strategies to build partnerships and coalitions. Bob’s leadership background and experience are a perfect fit for this key position. We look forward to a challenging but successful fire season with Bob at the helm.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of this opportunity,” Baird said. “I’ve had the great pleasure of serving both at the forest level and at the Washington office level, and this regional position will tie those experiences together. I think the opportunity to serve in both Cal Fire and with the Forest Service has given me a broad perspective on fire in this region, and I look forward to taking on the challenges with the support of the best firefighters in the world.”

Baird is a Riverside native and is expected to report to his new position May 15, according to the release.