New Mexico

New Mexico

Fire Leadership Award Goes to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Employee

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge - 2007

Chris Wilcox, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fire management officer for the New Mexico Fire District at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, is the recipient of the 2007 Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award.

Wilcox received the award March 12, 2007 in the “Motivation and Vision” category for his outstanding contributions in developing and delivering new decision-making tools. Firefighters use these psychological techniques hone decision-making and other mental skills that are necessary in quickly-changing, dangerous and stressful environments – like fire.

“Many of the tools that we have developed and are delivering focus on human factors which have either directly lead to, or contributed to serious injuries or fatalities on historical wildfire events,” said Wilcox. “Because we have put effort into learning from the mistakes…we are building (what is known as) a ‘learning organization.’ "

The national award recognizes outstanding, demonstrated leadership in the principals and values of wildland firefighting. Recognition is made in several categories: mentoring and teamwork, motivation and vision, and initiative and innovation. The award was created in 2003 in honor of Paul Gleason, a well-known federal fire leader, mentor and teacher who is best remembered for developing the LCES concept for wildland firefighters (Lookout, Communication, Escape Route, and Safety Zone). Gleason died of cancer in 2003.

Recipients are named each spring by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) based on a nomination process, and may include individuals or groups from various agencies and external organizations. The NWCG is a national team of fire managers from the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Association of State Foresters, Intertribal Timber Council and the U.S. Fire Administration.

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