When long-time Assistant State Forester Walt Jackson retired last fall, it didn’t take long for State Fire Staff Assistant Jeremy Jones to step up to the fire and successfully manage the 2021 Fall Fire Season. I am happy to announce that Jeremy Jones has been selected to serve as the Assistant State Forester for Fire Protection.
Jones, a 19-year veteran of the West Virginia Division of Forestry (WVDOF), has served in multiple roles during his tenure, but most recently as the State Fire Staff Assistant—working side-by-side with Jackson. As such, Jeremy embraced the wonderful opportunity to learn every aspect of the Fire Protection Program, including deploying local and national wildland firefighting crews and managing grant monies. He was the obvious standout choice to replace Jackson.
Although the title is new to Jeremy, the duties associated with the position certainly are not. ASF Jones came to the position with a set of goals that he wants to accomplish including:
- Increasing the number of wildland firefighters and acquiring aerial and heavy equipment for fire suppression.
- Updating radio equipment to enhance communication during emergencies.
- Encouraging staff to obtain advanced qualifications necessary for incident management.
- Communicating WVDOF’s role and success regarding wildfire management.
- Developing a Prescribed Fire Program.
For those of you unfamiliar with Jones’ contribution to the forestry field, he is a 2003 graduate of West Virginia University, where he earned a degree in Wood Science with an emphasis on Forest Utilization. After graduation, Jones accepted a position with the WVDOF as the service forester for Roane and Jackson counties. He advanced from service forester to logging supervisor and fire specialist before joining the State Fire Program Team. I am excited about the plans and direction Jones has for the WVDOF Fire Protection Program.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to thank Jones and the dedicated WVDOF wildland firefighters for battling the flames while we were hunting Easter eggs. By forfeiting their Easter holiday to protect us, we were able to celebrate ours. Thank you again.