Montana Fire Season

Former State Forester Bob Harrington updates Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on the coming wildfire season on Monday, June 3, 2013, in Helena. Harrington was fired for personnel reasons,  Department of Natural Resources and Conservation John Tubbs said Wednesday.

MATT GOURAS/Associated Press

HAMILTON — Bob Harrington no longer is the Montana state forester for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, according to DNRC Director John Tubbs.

"He is no longer employed with the agency," Tubbs said on Tuesday.

However, Jill Gerdrum, an attorney representing Harrington, said the "process is incomplete."

"Anything concerning Bob's employment as state forester is not yet final, and any suggestion otherwise is incomplete to the point of being inaccurate," Gerdrum added. 

Harrington, who served in the position for 15 years, was put on paid administrative leave in May, and was terminated around Aug. 11, according to Tubbs. He declined to say why Harrington was let go, other than it involved “personnel reasons.”

Sue Clark, who has been with DNRC for 25 years, is the acting state forester. She also is the chief financial officer for the forestry division.

Based in Missoula, the forestry division of DNRC plans and implements forestry and fire management programs across the Treasure State. The division has four major functions, including fire and aviation management, forestry assistance, business management, and policy, planning and outreach.

According to the DNRC website, the forestry division helps private landowners manage forested lands, among other things.

“We respond to wildfires, insect pests and diseases, and advocate for sustainable forest management practices on private, state, tribal and federal forestlands,” the website states. “We value Montana’s integrated forest industry and its social, economic and environmental benefits.”

Harrington often testified before the Montana Legislature on forestry issues, including the creation of a fund to cover the costs of fighting wildfires.

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