The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has named Robert Baird regional director of fire and aviation management in the Pacific Southwest Region of the USFS.

Baird, the forest supervisor on the Los Padres National Forest, oversees ecosystem management, land use and wildfire management for more than 1.9 million acres in central California. He has been in that position for three fire seasons.

Baird’s prior experience with the USFS includes a stint as deputy national fire director in the Washington office and in a detail acting associate deputy director of CalFire, where he fostered partnership and cooperation with the USFS in California.

In his assignments with the USFS, Baird demonstrated successful leadership by overseeing operations at the National Interagency Fire Center, leading in the transition to next-generation air tankers, and supervising the Los Padres during the complex and challenging fire season of 2016.

“I’m very pleased to welcome Bob Baird as our regional director for fire and aviation management,” said Randy Moore, regional forester. “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,” he said.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this opportunity,” said Baird. “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 CalFire 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,” he said.

— Ray Mooney for U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region.