FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 19, 2020
NH Forest Protection Bureau swears in two new forest ranger recruits
The N.H. Forest Protection Bureau has announced that two new recruits have been sworn in as forest rangers and have begun the training process.
Nathan Blanchard graduated from the University of New Hampshire and New England College with degrees in forest technology and environmental science. A veteran of the Naval Reserve, he has worked as a forest technician for the U.S. Forest Service.
David Smith, Jr., graduated from Southern Maine Community College with degrees in fire science and criminal justice. He was named Student Firefighter of the Year by the Scarborough Fire Department.
Both Blanchard and Smith have wildland fire backgrounds and are nationally certified as Type 2 Wildland Firefighters.
The N.H. Forest Protection Bureau is responsible for protecting more than 4.5 million acres of both public and private forestlands from the threat of wildland fire. On average, New Hampshire experiences about 250 wildland fires each year, which burn an average of 250 acres. Another 200-300 illegal fires occur annually that are extinguished before they turn into a wildland fires.
Forest rangers also respond to, investigate and assist with the prosecution of forest resource crimes, including timber theft, improper timber harvesting procedures and failure to accurately pay clients for timber harvests.
Blanchard and Smith were sworn in by N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Commissioner Sarah L. Stewart. They will immediately start their field training and will attend the next full-time Police Academy.
“We all know the importance that first responders have in our daily lives, and forest rangers play key first responder roles, both as firefighters and as law enforcement officers,” said Commissioner Stewart. “Rangers Blanchard and Smith will be strong assets to our Forest Protection Bureau, which does such a terrific job working with partners in our communities, making sure New Hampshire’s forests are healthy and safe.”
The N.H. Forest Protection Bureau is part of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ Division of Forests and Lands, which protects and promotes the value provided by trees, forests and natural communities. For more information about the Division of Forests and Lands and the work of its Forest Protection Bureau, visit nh.gov/nhdfl or call 603-271-2214.