Wildfire Deputy Supervisor & State Forester

State of Washington

Olympia , Washington

Under the leadership of the Commissioner of Public Lands, our work at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is done with the public's interest in mind, which means transparency and public knowledge.  Our decisions are guided by sound science as we manage state trust lands, native ecosystems and natural resources. We support the vision of a sustainable future by protecting and managing the natural resources so future generations will have them.
DNR manages over 5 million acres of state-owned land that includes forest, range, commercial, agricultural and aquatic lands. We generate revenue that supports public schools, state institutions and county services. But managing lands is only half of our story. We also protect other public resources such as fish, wildlife, water, and provide public access to outdoor recreation. Two of our largest and most important state-wide resource protection responsibilities are fire prevention and suppression, and overseeing forest practices.
The DNR has an annual operating budget of approximately $245 million and has over 1300 permanent employees with approximately 500 additional staff hired during the summer fire season. 
 We have some of the most talented people in the industry.  We honor diversity in the workplace and support one another with respect and trust.  We invite you to learn more about our culture, our careers, and why some of the top forestry and natural science professionals have joined Washington DNR by visiting our DNR website. 

As a member of the executive team, the incumbent will provide strategic and tactical oversight to the Wildland Fire Division and be responsible for executive leadership of the state's largest on-call fire department. This includes DNR Wildland Fire Program, the Statewide Forest Health Program, Urban and Community Forestry, Fire Prevention, Firewise/Fire Adaptive Communities, Federal Excess Program, Correction Camps, Smoke Management and serves as the State Forester.
DNR's Wildland Fire Program has more than 1,300 employees trained and available to fight fires. This includes more than 800 permanent DNR employees and 500 seasonal employees. The program also trains over 500 National Guard, various fire district's employees, volunteer Department of Corrections crews and equipment contractors. The program coordinates with many external fire-fighting resource organizations, United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and more. This involves dispatching resources to fires and other emergencies and maintaining a cache of firefighting equipment and supplies.
The Forest Health Program uses science to understand the needs of the trees, insects, fungi, water and more. It provides landowner assistance, forest disease prevention information, forest insect information, climate change, forest health restoration, wood energy and biomass utilization, along with aerial survey information. The program carries out research and monitoring to make science based decisions about forest management practices.
The State Forester represents our state at the national and state level in advocating the practice of sustainable forestry and the protection of all lands in the state. This position plays a key role in our firefighting efforts, Forest Health Programs, and securing state and federal grant funding to carry out forest improvement treatments on state and private forest lands throughout Washington.


  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities to carry out the responsibilities of an executive leadership position as outlined above.
  • A proven record of accomplishment with strategic leadership, vision and innovation for delivering results, building accountability with staff, and creating a positive working environment.
  • Proven experience with business management practices, organizational development, and managing the performance of senior level professional level staff.
  • Bachelor's or advanced degree with preference for natural science field.
  • Experience with legislative and budgeting processes.
  • Experience advising or representing an elected official.
  • Experience leading a major segment of a large organization.
  • Demonstrated success in creative thinking and informed risk taking.
  • Advanced knowledge of: Wildland Fire Protection/Suppression and Incident Command System and related principles, practices, and laws.
  • Ability to effectively represent and negotiate agency interests for the Commissioner of Public Lands and the Department.
  • Ability to establish credibility and work with diverse stakeholder groups as well as with internal program and regional staff.
  • Working knowledge of labor agreements, personnel rules, and employment law.
  • Excellent communication and diplomacy skills.
  • Ability to develop a network of professional contacts in state and federal agencies, among other State Foresters, and Congressional staff.


  • This position may require working hours into the evenings, weekends, and/or holidays, as needed.
  • Travel may be required. Employees, who drive for state business, whether in a state or privately owned vehicle, are required to possess a valid license as defined in policy PO02-006 and abide by all other driver responsibility requirements.