Vicki Christiansen Sworn in as Chief of U.S. Forest Service

USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen

Significant funding for urban forestry at the state level comes from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS); see the role that the USFS plays with urban forests here. It’s important to get to know our national leadership, like newly sworn in USFS Chief Vicki Christiansen. 

Vicki Christiansen serves as Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service in Washington, D.C., after serving as Interim Chief since March 8, 2018. In her 36-year career in natural resource and wildland fire management, she brings a wealth of experiences and skills that demonstrate a commitment to the core values of the Forest Service. This includes conservation, service, interdependence, diversity, and safety. She works daily to live up to these values in every facet of her leadership and service. She demonstrates them as she leads a workforce of more than 25,000 permanent employees who steward 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands; support the world’s largest forestry research organization; and work with states, tribes and the public to sustain all forests so they can benefit all citizens, today and in the future.

Prior to serving as Chief, she worked as Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry, where she oversaw Fire and Aviation Management, Tribal Relations, Forest Health Protection, Cooperative Forestry, Grey Towers National Historic Site, and Conservation Education. 

Vicki joined the Forest Service in 2010 as the Deputy Director of Fire and Aviation Management. She worked extensively on the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, bringing her experience as a line officer, land manager, wildland fire fighter, and State Forester to the effort while building strong ties with leaders at the state, regional and national levels. She played a prominent role leading the agency’s Life First initiative to significantly increase the odds of firefighters and other staff returning home safely after assignments. Throughout all her roles, she has been an unwavering voice for creating a safe, inclusive, diverse workforce.

Prior to joining the Forest Service, Vicki served as the Arizona State Forester and Director of the Arizona Division of Forestry, where she was responsible for the protection of 22 million acres of state and private lands in Arizona. Her responsibilities included chairing the Wildland Fire Committee for the National Association of State Foresters.

Vicki previously served as the Washington State Forester, the culmination of a 26-year career with Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). She started as a wildland firefighter in 1980 while still in college and later held positions in operations, managing state trust lands, and regulating forest practices on state and private lands. Her first permanent position was in 1983 as a forester responsible for the reforestation of state trust lands in the Mt. Saint Helens volcanic blast zone.

Vicki has achieved numerous credentials in the wildland fire program with special expertise as a fire-line blasting advisor. She earned a bachelor’s degree in forest management at the University of Washington (1983, cum laude).

A native of Washington State, Vicki is married to a Fire Chief (retired) and has two grown sons.



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