Letters from the West

Kaage heads Park Service fire programs

Bill Kaage has taken the reins as the top fire manager for the National Park Service.

Kaage was named chief of the National Park Service Division of Fire and Aviation Management, a national position headquartered at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. He succeeds Tom Nichols, who retired in January.

As the Chief, Kaage is responsible for policy and program direction for the aviation, structural fire, and wildland fire management programs for the National Park Service. He administers a budget that exceeds $90 million in fire and aviation funding for the Service.

“Kaage’s vast experience at various levels in the organization, his knowledge of the program and all of its partners, and his demonstrated track record in leading at the national level, made him an excellent fit for this position” said the Park Service’s Cam Sholly, associate director for visitor and resource protection.

Since April 2009, Kaage has served as the branch chief of wildland fire, one of the six branches within the division he now leads. Kaage started his career in 1983 as a firefighter on the Clearwater National Forest.

Born in Chicago, Kaage graduated from Beloit College in Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. In 1988, he completed his Master of Science Degree in Forestry from the University of Montana. Bill and his wife Susan Lamberson have two grown daughters.