As of Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Ralph Rau has been selected as the Director of Fire, Aviation and Air for the Forest Service’s Northern Region, announced Regional Forester Leanne Marten. Rau began his duties this week. He is based in Missoula, Mont.
Rau came from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests in north Idaho where he was the Deputy Forest Supervisor. “Ralph is very familiar with the role fire plays in the health of national forests,” said Marten. “His practical experience on several forests made him a very competitive candidate to oversee fire operations in the Northern Region.”
The Northern Region spans 25 million acres of forests and grasslands in north Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and the northwest corner of South Dakota. The Forest Service works in partnership with many local, statewide and regional groups to fight fires on and off National Forests. The Director serves a leadership role in this multi-agency approach. Before fire season begins, the Forest Service is pro-actively reducing hazardous fuels to create resilient landscapes.
Rau holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management from Utah State University, an Associate of Science in Forest Technology from Sierra College, and several accreditations in forestry related trainings. Rau served four years in the United States Marine Corps upon graduation from high school. He worked in timber management in the private sector before working for the Forest Service as a seasonal worker in 1985. Since then, his 33 year career has taken him to seven regions of the Forest Service, from California to Alabama and places in between. He has served as a smokejumper, timber management assistant and district ranger among other positions.
He and his wife Melissa have two children. Melissa works for the State of Idaho. Their daughter Elizabeth lives and works in Boise and is a graduate of the University of Idaho; son Stuart attends the University of Idaho and Army ROTC and works summers for the Idaho Department of Lands in fire. Rau’s hobbies include fishing, hiking, yard work, reading and running.