Jerry Perez is stepping into a critical role for the USDA Forest Service as its newest National Director for Fire and Aviation Management. Perez will oversee all aspects of the agency’s fire and aviation program, including the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho and the National Fire Training Center in Tucson, Arizona.
“I welcome Jerry’s 32 years of experience and expertise as he leads our outstanding firefighters and guides the fire and aviation program to meet the challenge of preventing and managing wildfires,” said Chief Randy Moore. “He steps into this position as the agency focuses on significantly increasing the pace and scale of hazardous fuels treatments focused in areas that have the highest risks of wildfires and threats to vital infrastructure.”
The agency’s work in fire and aviation includes wildfire response operations, risk management and doctrine, landscape management, partnerships, workforce management, wildfire prevention, budget, and fire information technology. Perez replaces Shawna Legarza, who retired.
Chief Moore expressed his gratitude for the leadership from acting fire and aviation management directors since Legarza’s retirement, including retired Klamath Forest Supervisor Patty Grantham, Helena-Lewis and Clark Forest Supervisor Bill Avey, and Southwest Region Fire Director Jacob Nuttall.
Jerry Perez last served as the Forest Supervisor for the Angeles National Forest in Arcadia, California. Before that, Perez served as state director of California and Oregon/Washington for the Bureau of Land Management. With the Forest Service, Perez previously served as deputy regional forester for the Intermountain Region in Utah, forest supervisor on the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky, deputy forest supervisor for the Stanislaus National Forest in California and national litigation coordinator in the agency’s Washington Office.