Experienced wildfire manager to oversee state’s largest on-call fire agency, community preparedness, and community forestry outreach
Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz announced her appointment of George Geissler as Washington State Forester and Deputy Supervisor for Wildfire. Geissler, who joined the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on May 29, will be responsible for day-to-day management of the state’s largest on-call fire department.
“George brings experienced leadership to our efforts to protect 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestland.” Franz said. “And as our new Washington State Forester, George will play a key role with all our communities across Washington.”
Geissler comes to DNR from Oklahoma where he served as the director of forestry services and state forester with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture where his duties included coordinating the department’s Forest Stewardship program, forest management planning, prescribed fire planning, financial analysis and technical assistance. He previously worked in private forest management and as a wildland firefighter and forester for the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho.
Currently president of the National Association of State Foresters, a member of the Society of American Foresters, and a Certified Forester, Geissler received his Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management from Louisiana State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard University. He has almost 30 years of experience in natural resource and wildland fire management, and six years of experience in structural firefighting as a volunteer in Idaho and New Mexico.
Last year, 404,223 acres burned across Washington costing more than $134 million. Washington’s “summer fire rules” are in effect April 15 through October 15 and rules apply to the 13 million acres of private and state forestlands protected from wildfire by DNR.
As Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz oversees DNR and its responsibility to prevent and fight wildfires, as well as management of 3 million acres of state trust lands, 2.6 million acres of state aquatic lands, 92 state natural areas, rule administration across 12 million acres of Washington forestlands and the Washington State Geology Survey.