Last week, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson announced the appointment of Rick Dolan as State Forester and Director of Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“I am pleased to announce Rick Dolan as our new Florida Forest Service Director. With his decades of experience, and proven leadership and emergency management skills, I am confident that he will successfully lead the Florida Forest Service into the future,” said Simpson. “Failure is not an option when it comes to protecting the state. It’s a critical job and Rick’s servant leadership and team-oriented approach make him perfect for the job.”
Dolan began his career at the Florida Forest Service in 1993 as a Forest Ranger in the Perry District. He was promoted to Senior Forest Ranger at Goethe State Forest in 1996 and in 1999, Dolan became the first Forest Area Supervisor for the newly created Wildfire Mitigation Team located in Bunnell, Florida. In 2000, Dolan transferred to a traditional Forest Area Supervisor position covering Alachua and Gilchrist counties. Dolan was promoted to the Operations Administrator position in 2010 and has been the Waccasassa Forestry Center Manager for the last 9 years. Dolan has been on the Florida Red Incident Management Team for 20 years, working his way up from Division Supervisor trainee to Incident Commander Type 1. He has led the team nationally on wildfires in Oregon, Washington, North Carolina, and numerous in-state assignments including hurricane responses.
The Florida Forest Service is the largest division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, with more than 1,200 employees — of which more than 600 are certified wildland firefighters. The Florida Forest Service works to protect and manage the forest resources of Florida, ensuring that they will be available for future generations. The Florida Forest Service manages over 1 million acres of state forests for multiple public uses, including timber, recreation, and wildlife habitat. It also provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests and offers technical information and grant programs to landowners to help them improve their forestland.
Through wildfire prevention and suppression, the Florida Forest Service works to protect homes, forestland, and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire. Since January, over 1,000 wildfires have burned more than 33,000 acres in Florida.
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