America’s Forests in the Balance: A National Emergency: A Call to Action
Photo by Matt Palmer / Unsplash

America’s Forests in the Balance: A National Emergency: A Call to Action

Editor’s Note:

Michael T. Rains – a friend and colleague for several years - wrote the foreword to my book, First, Put Out the Fire! He has been the author and driving force behind A Call to Action, a blog he developed several years ago in which he tracks the West’s wildfire pandemic, offering cause and effect analysis as we do on our website.

We’ve interviewed Michael several times and reposted his blogs. Below you can find a summary of his current blog, the longer and more detailed version, his letter to the Government Accounting Office, and his Managed Fire Appendix. Meticulous times ten!

Michael holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management and Master’s degrees in three areas – Watershed Management; Public Administration and Government Affairs. He worked for the U.S. Forest Service for almost 50 years, starting out as a wildland firefighter in California and rising to Deputy Chief of the agency.

 As a Senior Executive in the Forest Service for over 30 years, Michael was often called upon to lead special projects and represent the Forest Service and Department of Agriculture in matters outside his normal duties. His leadership helped advance land management and science processes across America, improving the lives of people and their communities in both rural and urban areas. In 2017, he authored A Forest Service Vision During the Anthropocene, a unique look to the future for landscape scale conservation.

 He was also the Agency lead for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; Department of Agriculture lead for the “Impacts of Wildfires on Communities and the Environment” (aka, the National Fire Plan); and, the framework design and implementation of the Living Memorials Project in response to the events of September 11, 2001.

 A Presidential Rank Award winner in 2012 for distinguished public service, he retired from Federal service in 2016. In 2017, Michael received both the Humboldt State University [now, Cal Poly Humboldt] Distinguished Alumni Award and the America's People's Choice Award for the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, an initiative designed to help protect America’s urban forests.

 His commitment to contemporary land conservation and service to others continues. Since retirement, he has written extensively about forest maintenance and its role to control large, intense wildfires. He is the primary author of the America’s Forests in the Balance: A National Emergency [aka, A Call to Action], a document that outlines solutions that address the current national emergency of intense, uncontrollable wildfires resulting from the lack of forest maintenance across America. Michael is a Registered Professional Forester in  the state of California and resides in Broomall, Pennsylvania.

After he retired, he completed a degree in Secondary Education and now works as a Substitute Teacher and Homebound Tutor for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. His teaching specialties are math, science and history.

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