National Fire Plan award honors Malheur forest employee

Jeff Pendleton

JOHN DAY - Malheur National Forest Fire Management Officer Jeff Pendleton was presented an award on Jan. 15 from Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton for excellence in implementing the National Fire Plan.

Pendleton was one of four recipients out of 16 nominees to be presented this award for efforts made to improve firefighter safety, training and preparedness. Pendleton and the three other recipients hired local contractors as part of providing effective levels of staffing and engines for initial attack of wildfires. These contractors became part of the agency resources improving and strengthening leadership skills as well as firefighting skills. Contractors were able to hire local people, many with firefighting experience, which kept jobs in the local communities.

"The collaborative efforts of the Malheur National Forest District fire management officers, the contracting officer and their staffs are what enabled us to implement the preparedness contracting," said Pendleton. "It was because of this group effort and the willingness of the contractors to try something new that we were able to develop and put into practice the contract during this past busy fire season. This award, along with my thanks, belongs to them."

Pendleton has been the fire management officer for the Malheur National Forest since 2001 and has been involved in wildland fire with the Forest Service since 1974.

"This is well deserved recognition for dedicated employees like Jeff that are implementing the National Fire Plan," said Roger Williams, Acting Forest Supervisor. "I'm very proud of Jeff and all our employees and community members for the efforts that have been put forth."

Other National Fire Plan successes include reduction of hazard fuels on 16,355 acres of the Malheur National Forest, new locally-based contracting approaches such as the Forks Stewardship Contract, completion of the Rappel Tower and Pacific Northwest Rappel Academy, Dry Forest Mechanized Treatment Trials, and grants to Oregon Department of Forestry, Grant County Resource Enhancement Action Team, Harney County and Grant Soil and Water Conservation District totaling well over a quarter million dollars. Future efforts include developing a business plan for priority treatment areas in partnership with counties and ODF and continued efforts to develop new uses and methods for removing small diameter fuels.

For more information about the National Fire Plan, visit the Web site www.fireplan.gov.

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