National Wildlife Refuge System

First Annual National Fire Safety Award to Rocky Chesser


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Rocky Chesser is a maintenance and equipment supervisor with fire qualifications at Okefenokee Refuge, GA.
Credit: USFWS

April 18, 2014 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has presented its first annual National Fire Safety Award to Rocky Chesser, a long-time maintenance and equipment supervisor with fire qualifications at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia.

“The Branch of Fire Management created the award to recognize outstanding leadership and service in wildland fire safety,” said John Segar, Service fire director from the Interagency Fire Center. “Rocky was chosen by an interagency panel for being key to ensuring a safe response to the 2011 Honey Prairie Fire.”
The 309,200-acre Honey Prairie Fire burned for nearly a year, from April, 2011 - April, 2012, affecting most of the 402,000-acre Okefenokee Refuge. At the peak of fire activity, there were 202 engines, 112 dozers, 20 water tenders, 12 helicopters, six crews, and a total of 1,458 personnel assigned. Over the duration of the fire, there were no fatalities or serious injuries, and firefighters were able to contain most of the fire inside the refuge.
“We are particularly proud of Rocky’s professionalism, leadership, and dedication to safe operations given the size and complexity of the Southeast’s fire program,” said Cindy Dohner, director of the Service’s Southeast Region.  “He is known as the ‘voice of reason’ which is crucial when working with partners to tackle wildfires.”

Last updated: April 18, 2014