Sierra National Forest’s Fire Management Officer Joe Reyes retired Jan. 2 after 35 years of service.
Reyes began his career 35 fire seasons ago in 1980, and has been the Sierra National Forest’s Fire Management Officer since 2011. In 1997 he was the as Battalion Chief at Batterson Station in Oakhurst. He then went on to work as the Fire Training Officer where he oversaw the fire apprentice and fire prevention programs in addition to coordinating fire training needs for the unit.
As the Forest’s Fire Management Officer Joe has also traveled to many countries, such as Mexico, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Bhutan and Brunei, to teach courses on the Incident Command System (ICS) to promote disaster preparedness.
When asked what advice he would give to up-and-coming fire professionals, Reyes said that he would encourage them to “find a job that you enjoy because we do not pay you enough to be miserable.”
The biggest change that Reyes has observed in the fire organization revolves around the training and qualifications requirements and how this has been standardized to protect the integrity and safety of the fire management program.
Reyes will continuing to assist with regional and national emergency teams, and will continue to teach and be a part of the Forest Service International Programs, with a trip to Ethiopia being planned.
Also retiring are district equipment operators Richard Bailey and Joe Bedell who worked for the forest’s maintenance crew for 39 and 44 years, respectively.
Both were heavily involved in the recent clean-up of damage caused by the French Fire and preparing for the latest winter storms.