Lifelong Forest Service employee Tony Tooke named chief

Tony Tooke, left, appears alongside a pair of volunteers who were awarded for their work in this 2016 photo. The regional forester for the Southern Region of the Forest Service, Tooke was named the new Forest Service chief on Monday.

Tony Tooke, regional forester for the Southern Region of the Forest Service, will serve as the new Forest Service chief, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced on Monday.

Tooke replaces Tom Tidwell, who is retiring after serving as chief since 2009. A Forest Service employee since age 18, Tooke previously served as associate deputy chief for the Nation Forest system.

“Tony has been preparing for this role for his whole professional life,” Perdue said in a statement, “and at a time when we face active and growing fires, his transition into leadership will be seamless. He will oversee efforts to get our forests working again, to make them more productive, and to create more jobs. His focus will be on ensuring we are good neighbors and are managing our forests effectively, efficiently and responsibly, as well as working with states and local governments to ensure the utmost collaboration.”

Read the full announcement here.