STEVENSVILLE - A retired Forest Service fire management officer from Stevensville is now at the helm of one of the largest organizations in the world representing wildland fire professionals.
Dan Bailey was named president of the International Association of Wildland Fire a few weeks ago.
The nonprofit is an independent organization whose members include experts in all aspects of wildland fire management from around the globe.
"This is an honor for me and I'm excited about leading the association into new partnerships and projects dealing with wildland fire, including research and community fire protection activities," Bailey said.
The organization's board of directors represents one of the most diverse wildland fire professional groups in the world, Bailey said.
For the first time in many years, Bailey said, the organization is now based in west-central Montana. Three of its lead employees either live in Missoula or in the Bitterroot Valley.
"That should be good for Montana, especially Missoula," Bailey said. "It will give Montana some more opportunities for conferences in the future."
The organization was created 22 years ago to foster communication between different wildland fire groups on a worldwide basis. It addresses everything from wildland firefighters' safety issues to the latest research pertaining to wildland fire.
The organization produces two magazines. One focuses on operational-types of wildland firefighting issues and the other centers around research happening on a global scale.
"Every year, we see impacts of wildland fire increasing in countries around the world," Bailey said. "A couple of weeks ago, several wildland firefighters died in Chile. It's happening everywhere."
Bailey brings a great deal of wildland fire experience to the position.
He retired from the Forest Service in 2005, where he served as the national program manager for Wildland Urban Interface Fire and Firewise. Before that stint in Washington, D.C., Bailey was the Supervisory Forester, Fire and Aviation Staff Officer for the Lolo National Forest.
He has over 32 years of experience in forestry and wildland fire, including 12 years as an incident commander of a Type 1 National Incident Management Team that dealt with the most complex and dangerous wildland fires.
Bailey is the director of Wildland Fire, Natural Resource and Natural Hazard Programs for the International Code Council in Washington D.C. That organization is helping develop building codes for safe, sustainable and affordable housing.
Bailey will be president for two years.
"The IAWF is intensifying efforts to deal with escalating wildfire problems facing parts of most every continent through new partnerships, technology, research sharing and education," Bailey said.