U.S. Forest Service officials have announced the selection of Robert Baird as the new forest supervisor for the Los Padres National Forest.
Baird succeeds Peggy Hernandez, who retired in February.
Baird serves as 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.
Prior to assuming his current position, 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.
“Bob has an extensive background as a leader both in the military and in the fire organization,” Pacific Southwest regional forester Randy Moore said. “He is familiar with California and is a welcome addition to the regional leadership team.”
Baird is a native of Riverside. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Maryland in 1989, graduated with honors from the Naval War College in 2000, and received his master's degree from the Marine Corps University in 2006. Baird recently completed the USDA Senior Executive Candidate Development Program through the American University.
“I am looking forward to joining the Los Padres and working with the talented staff and dedicated employees who make the forest the special place that it is,” Baird said. “There are many important challenges and opportunities ahead of us, and I’m eager to work collectively with the public and our partners to build consensus around these issues.”
Baird and his wife, the former Linda Wright of Huntley, New Zealand, have seven children.
Deputy Forest Supervisor Ken Heffner, who has served as interim forest supervisor since Hernandez’s retirement, will continue to fill that role until Baird arrives in July.
— Andrew Madsen represents the Los Padres National Forest.