Rachel C. Smith is the new Acting Forest Supervisor for the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument. As the Forest Supervisor, she will oversee the Forest and Monument of more than 1 million acres of rich history, culture and the largest concentration of Giant Sequoia Groves in the world.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to spend the spring on the Sequoia National Forest – my family are all avid hikers, and it is wonderful to get to work on a forest that I’ve gotten to hike on a few times in my life,” expressed Supervisor Rachel Smith.
Smith is on a 4-month detail from her previous position as Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument where she has served since 2016. Prior to joining the Angeles National Forest, she served as Deputy Regional Fire Director of the Southern Region, a thirteen-state region stretching from Texas to Virginia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She also served at the Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia for five years.
Her Forest Service career began as a Union Hotshot on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in the 90s, later working as a smokejumper in Redding, California. After completing a degree in Bioethics at Whitman College, Smith spent time working on natural resource management internationally, including work for the Nature Conservancy’s Global Fire Initiative. In 2011, Smith completed her Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California at Berkeley. She returned to federal service in Atlanta, Ga, where she was selected as the Deputy Assistant Fire Director over Operations, serving as the Forest Service’s liaison for two FEMA regions and lead Southern efforts for disaster response. She also spent time as deputy director for the interagency Service First Fire, Fuels & Aviation program serving the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon; worked as District Ranger on the Angelina and Sabine National Forests; served a leadership role on the Southern Cohesive Fire Strategy effort and worked in the Washington Office on the Next Generation Air Tanker program.
Smith and her husband A.J. are excited to move back to southern California. She enjoys travel, learning about other cultures and exploring the outdoors, and is getting ready to backcountry ski the Continental Divide through Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado this winter.
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Elise Modrovich with the Kern Valley Sun