PHOENIX – Gov. Jan Brewer announced Monday that she has appointed a veteran wildfire official from Washington state as Arizona’s new state forester.
Victoria “Vicki” Christiansen served as Washington state forester, beginning her career for the state Department of Natural Resources as a wildland fire fighter and rising in the ranks through a variety of management posts. Christiansen served as Washington’s forester from 2006 to early 2009.
Brewer, a Republican, appointed Christiansen to replace Kirk Rowdabaugh, an appointee of former Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat. Brewer became governor on Jan. 20.
An Arizona Senate committee on Monday endorsed Christiansen’s appointment and recommended that the full Senate confirm it.
Christiansen told the committee that her first priority is to “look, learn and listen” and that she then wants to “engage” with communities regarding forest restoration.
“The bottom line is our citizens want to feel safe,” she said.
Arizona earlier this decade had several large wildfires that devastated forest communities in eastern and southern Arizona, and there has been extensive debate over the locations and scope of forest-thinning projects.