Jan 12, 2020 5:00 PM

New Kansas Forest Service leader named

Posted Jan 12, 2020 5:00 PM
Outgoing Kansas Forest Service state leader Larry Biles (left) shakes hands with Jason Hartman, who will take over the agency's top job on Dec. 29. 
Outgoing Kansas Forest Service state leader Larry Biles (left) shakes hands with Jason Hartman, who will take over the agency's top job on Dec. 29. 

MANHATTAN – Jason Hartman, the assistant fire management officer for the Kansas Forest Service for the past 15 years, has been named the new state forester for the agency, effective Dec. 29.

He succeeds Larry Biles, who served as leader since 2008. Biles’ recent retirement marked the end of a distinguished career in forestry that spanned four decades.

The Kansas Forest Service serves Kansas citizens with such programs as conservation tree and shrub planting, fire management, community forestry, rural forestry, marketing and utilization and forest health.

Hartman will lead a staff of 30 employees located in the agency’s headquarters on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, as well as several local and district offices across the state.

In his previous role, Hartman led an effort to assist local fire departments, schools and other organizations to educate the public about wildfire hazards through such programs as Smokey Bear and Firewise USA, which is sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association.

Among other duties, he was coordinator of the Kansas Prescribed Fire Council, and has supervised 30 part-time fire protection specialists in Kansas who are available at a moment’s notice to respond to fire emergencies in Kansas or nationally. He has helped train fire departments in Kansas to conduct wildfire hazard assessments, and assisted landowners to reduce wildfire hazards while maintaining a natural setting.

“Larry Biles leaves behind a legacy of service that will be a challenge to live up to,” said Hartman, adding that he feels confident in “the talented staff at KFS who will continue to expand our legacy of service to the people of Kansas.”

For more information about the Kansas Forest Service, visit https://www.kansasforests.org.

About the Kansas Forest Service

The Kansas Forest Service is the nation’s fifth oldest state forestry agency. The agency serves rural landowners, communities, rural fire districts, forest and arboriculture industries, and citizens of the state through its Conservation Tree and Shrub Planting, Fire Management, Community Forestry, Rural Forestry, Marketing and Utilization, and Forest Health programs.

The Kansas Forest Service state office is located in Manhattan, Kansas, just west of the campus of Kansas State University.

The Kansas Forest Service is housed as an independent agency within K-State Research and Extension. The agency receives its direction from a mission statement that reads: “Care of natural resources and service to people through forestry.”