U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced today that Jerry Williams will head the Fire and Aviation Management staff. Williams most recently served as director of Aviation, Fire, and Air staff in the Northern Region headquartered in Missoula, Mont. He replaces Jose Cruz who retired earlier this year.
“This position is critical in assuring that the Forest Service and the other federal and state agencies are prepared for the fire season,” said Acting Forest Service Chief Phil Janik. “Williams will do a first-class job protecting people and resources and promoting safer, healthier forests and grasslands. I’m glad to have him in this position.”
Williams began his Forest Service career 32 years ago as a firefighter, serving as a smokejumper for seven years. He has served in fire management positions at district, forest, regional, and national office levels. Additionally, he has broad experience in fire suppression, fire use, and the wilderness fire program. Before becoming regional fire director in the Northern Region, Williams served as Assistant National Fire Director for Operations in Washington, D.C.
"I'm anxious to take on the responsibilities of the assignment," Williams said. “I am looking forward to working with state, federal, and local partners to protect people and resources and being part of the team implementing the National Fire Plan.”
In 1999, Williams co-led development of a national strategy designed to protect communities, watersheds, and species at risk in fire-adapted ecosystems. The strategy became a basis for the National Fire Plan. He holds a master's degree in fire sciences from the University of Washington.
Williams and his wife, Greta have been married for 27 years. Their daughter, Sarah, is a student at the University of Virginia. Their son, David, attends the University of Montana.