Bob Houseman – Incident Commander
Bob graduated from Iowa State University in 1978 with a BS degree in Forest Management. His experience in forestry and fire management began in 1976 when he worked two seasons on the St. Joe National Forest, Avery Ranger District, in timber cruising and fire control. In 1979 he was employed by Colville Tribal Forestry, Nespelem, Washington where he served for two years as the Eastern Regional Forest Supervisor overseeing land management operations and providing basic fire suppression training and development.
In 1984 Bob moved to North Carolina where he began a career with the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources as a Service Forester working his way through the ranks as an Assistant District Forester, District Forester and Regional Forester for the coastal plain region before retiring in 2008 to join the National Incident Management Organization (NIMO).
Bob has served in a variety of wildland fire positions over his career including Crew Boss, Burn Boss, Division/Group Supervisor, IC Type 3/4 and Operations Section Chief Type 1/2. He served for six years as IC T2 on one of the North Carolina’s Incident Management Teams and a short stint as IC T1(t) with the Southern Interagency IMT “Red Team” from 2006 to 2008. His current qualifications include IC T1 and OSC T1.
Locations that Bob has worked in incident management include wildland fires in California, Florida, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming, along with all-hazard incidents such as hurricane disaster relief in North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the Columbia Shuttle Recovery in Texas.
Bob currently serves on the National Association of State Foresters-sponsored Complex Incident Management Course (CIMC) cadre as instructor and coach.
Vicki A. Clay – Logistics Section Chief
At the time Vicki accepted her assignment as Logistics Section Chief on the Phoenix NIMO team, she was a Realty Specialist on the Prescott National Forest. She managed public utility projects and at the time of her transfer was the project leader on a large natural gas pipeline under construction. Vicki served as Logistics Section Chief on Bateman’s, Oltrogge’s and Van Bruggen’s Southwest Area Type 1 Incident Management Teams. In addition to wildland fire, Type 1 assignments included Columbia Shuttle Recovery and several hurricanes. She had the honor of being called to serve with the Fire Department of New York in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Prior to moving to the Prescott National Forest she was in timber sale preparation and administration on the Bonners Ferry District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests. Vicki was a Forest Service Representative and alternate Contracting Officer on District timber sales. Her time there included details as District Timber Management Officer, Zone Lands and Special Uses Officer and District Ranger. She had the opportunity to work as initial attack, prevention patrol and many years of prescribed fire activities. Vicki was Logistics Section Chief on Specht’s North Idaho Type 2 Team.
Other positions were in Missoula, Mont. and in McCall, Idaho in lands and special uses while continuing to participate in fire.
Vicki started her career on the Slate Creek Ranger District of the Nez Perce National Forest where she worked seasonally in dispatch and prevention. This is also where she received her permanent appointment.
Through her career Vicki has had the pleasure to teach classes in the wildland fire community. Vicki is a charter member of the Arizona Wildfire Academy. She has two children, Kaitlin and Brennan.
Curtis Heaton – Operations Section Chief
Curtis Heaton began his career in 1985 on the Arapahoe-Roosevelt National Forest as a Forest Technician. After completing an A.S. degree in Forest Technology at Southeastern Illinois College, Curtis worked on the George Washington National Forest in Virginia and in the private sector in Indiana. In 1988 he moved to the Prescott National Forest in Arizona and joined the Prescott Interagency Hotshot Crew.
Life as a hotshot was the perfect fit for Curtis and he enjoyed the hard work and hotshot lifestyle for a number of years. In 1994, Curtis accepted a temporary assignment to assist in bringing the National Park Service’s first Prescribed Fire Module on-line at Bandolier National Monument in New Mexico. After short stints on the Mormon Lake and Pleasant Valley Interagency Hotshot Crews, he returned to the Prescott Hotshots and became the Crew Superintendent in 1998.
When the National Fire Plan was adopted in 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recruited Curtis as a Wildland/Urban Interface Specialist for the Southwest Region. Applying wildland/urban interface principles to endangered species habitat was both rewarding and challenging. Curtis took this opportunity to return to college and completed fire management and wildlife related courses at the University of Arizona and extension courses through Utah State University.
In 2005, Curtis was offered the Forest Fire Management Officer position on the Prescott National Forest where he worked extensively on applying fire and fuels related projects within the wildland/urban interface and developing an interagency approach to fire management with the neighboring fire departments and fire districts.
Curtis has been involved in leadership development training for a number of years and received the Paul Gleason Award for his work in wildland fire tactical decision games, staff rides and after action reviews. He also received recognition from the Secretary of Interior for serving as an Incident Commander during the Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts and was named the 2007 Fire Management Officer of the year for Region 3 of the U.S. Forest Service.
Curtis lives in Prescott, Arizona with his wife Jennifer and enjoys competing in triathlons, traveling and history. Curtis has served on Type I IMTS since 2002 and became a member of the Phoenix-based NIMO Team in May 2008.
Mike Baca – Planning Section Chief
Mike is a native of Arizona. He graduated from Round Valley High School, Springerville/Eagar, Arizona in 1973. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with an emphasis in Outdoor Recreation Management along with a minor in Forestry from Northern Arizona University in 1980.
Mike is a second generation Forest Service employee with over 34 years of service. He has been actively involved in fire throughout his career and is proud that his father was an FMO, oldest son is an Engine Captain and youngest son is currently enrolled in the Wildland Fire Apprentice program where is currently gaining experience as a crewmember on the Mt. Taylor IHC.
Mike began his career as a GS-2 seasonal. He has had seasonal experience working in high use recreation areas. He was converted as a forester in 1980 and has held positions including District Recreation and Lands Staff, District FMO, Deputy Recreation Staff on an urban forest, District Ranger, Deputy Forest Supervisor and Regional Fire and Aviation Management Assistant Director in Fire Operations with primary responsibility for the Regional Fire Prevention Program and Fire Equipment Standardization Program. He has served as the Chairperson for the Southwest Chapter of the Society of American Foresters.
Beginning with always being around fire as an aspect of his father’s career in fire, Mike’s first seasonal position was relief Helitack and Engine Crewman along with Fire Prevention Patrolman. Mike has been a member of an IMT since 1988 and has served as a qualified Unit Leader in all of the Plans functions. He has also been a Planning Section Chief at the Type 1 and 2 complexity levels along with being the Planning Section Chief for the first Fire Use Management Team formed in the Southwest.
Mike is married to his high school sweetheart Dr. Kris Baca who is currently a School Superintendent in southeast New Mexico. They have three children and two grand children.
Susan N. Lee – Finance Section Chief
Susan is an Arizona native and has a degree in Biology from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and a Forest Watershed Management degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson.
She started with the Forest Service in 1974 as a seasonal engine crewmember on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (A-S) in Arizona. She worked her way through college earning the big bucks as a timber marker, suppression/marking crew foreman, fire prevention technician and post-sale technician. In 1981 Susan became a permanent Forest Service employee, working as a pre-sale forester laying out tractor and skyline logging sales, a team leader for NEPA analysis, timber sale administrator and attended Forest Engineering Institute for Skyline Logging. In 1991 she became the Assistant Forest Timber Staff and in 1994 became the Forest Timber Staff, Timber Sale Contracting Officer and Regional Forester’s Representative for timber sale contracts.
In 2000 Susan moved into the R3 Regional Office as a Fuels Specialist and National Fire Plan (NFP) Coordinator, and became a national representative for the National Fire Plan Operating Reporting System (NFPORS) database. She returned to the Apache-Sitgreaves NF in 2006 as the Assistant Forest Fire Management Officer (AFMO) for fuels. She coordinated the budget and projects for the White Mountain Stewardship, which mechanically treats 5,000-7,000 acre of WUI each year. In 2007, Susan became the Acting Forest Fire Management Officer for the Apache-Sitgreaves N.F.
Susan started as a Cost and Time Unit Leader in 1984 on a Southwest Type 2 team. She worked her way up to a Type 1 Finance Section Chief in 2004. Incidents have included fires and hurricanes. On May 25, 2008, Susan became a member of the Phoenix NIMO team.
Susan was married to Brian Lee (Center Manager and SWCC Coordinator) for 24 years before his passing in 2005. She currently lives in Nutrioso, Arizona (home of the Wallow Fire in June 2011) with her two chocolate labs, and serves on the Nutrioso Fire District Board for fun!
Bruce Palmer – Public Information Officer
Bruce is a native of central Missouri. He received a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management in 1977 and a Master of Science in Forest Management in 1995, both from the University of Missouri.
Prior to being employed with the Forest Service in 2008, Bruce worked for the Missouri Department of Conservation for 31 years. During that time he was a service forester for 12 years, information and education coordinator for 15 years and fire training coordinator for 4 years. His duties with the state of Missouri included public and private forestland management, fire suppression, publication and video production, media relations, curriculum development, training and statewide program administration. He also served on the adjunct faculty of the University of Missouri and Missouri State University.
Bruce is past chair of the Eastern Area Training Working Team and member of the IQS Development Committee. He is active in the Society of American Foresters and was elected a Fellow in 2003. Bruce has instructed a number of NWCG and ICS courses and was involved with the planning and operation of the Midwest Wildfire Training Academy. He has been recognized by the Big Rivers Compact and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for his work in fire prevention and Firewise education.
Bruce lives near Sedalia, Missouri with his wife, Pat, a high school business education teacher. They have two daughters, Jessica and Haley.
Vacant – Safety Officer