Mike Long
Natural Resources Consultant

EXPERIENCE

His career started with both wildland fire with Pennsylvania Department of Forest and Waters and also as a structural firefighter with the Citizens Hose Company #5 in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. While at Paul Smith’s College he served as a firefighter with the college’s fire department.  

Upon graduation from college he began to pursue his career in forestry with the Florida Division of Forestry in Jacksonville at the lowest level, a Forester/Ranger Trainee.  It couldn’t have fit him better as he had his forestry career but was also cast into the wildland fire program.   He got to serve as the first Clay County Forester being actively involved in land management and working with the volunteer fire departments along with the forestry fire crews. 

From Clay County the family moved to the Fort Meyers District which was one of the most active fire areas in the Division of Forestry.  While there was little traditional forestry activity the fire program was in such shape that with active fire prevention and improving relationships with the fire departments and landowners he was able to make an impressive turn around in the wildland fire program.  Implementing new legislation that allowed for prescribe burning of vacant lands as long at the land owner didn’t object and forming teams of mixed forestry and structural fire officers to oversee fire operations were a few of the concepts that worked.

 


Mike Long
Natural Resources Consultant

EXPERIENCE

His career started with both wildland fire with Pennsylvania Department of Forest and Waters and also as a structural firefighter with the Citizens Hose Company #5 in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. While at Paul Smith’s College he served as a firefighter with the college’s fire department.  

Upon graduation from college he began to pursue his career in forestry with the Florida Division of Forestry in Jacksonville at the lowest level, a Forester/Ranger Trainee.  It couldn’t have fit him better as he had his forestry career but was also cast into the wildland fire program.   He got to serve as the first Clay County Forester being actively involved in land management and working with the volunteer fire departments along with the forestry fire crews. 

From Clay County the family moved to the Fort Meyers District which was one of the most active fire areas in the Division of Forestry.  While there was little traditional forestry activity the fire program was in such shape that with active fire prevention and improving relationships with the fire departments and landowners he was able to make an impressive turn around in the wildland fire program.  Implementing new legislation that allowed for prescribe burning of vacant lands as long at the land owner didn’t object and forming teams of mixed forestry and structural fire officers to oversee fire operations were a few of the concepts that worked.

 

The successes in Fort Meyers lead to his promotion to Chief of Fire Control Bureau. During his time as Chief he continued to work diligently to improve forestry and fire department relationships.  His firm belief in prevention lead the state to drop from an average 10,000 fires a year to 5,000. To emphasize the importance of prevention he started each new firefighter class off with the statement that when you fail at your primary job of fire prevention you will need the skills you are about to learn in this class.  It was also during this time that he helped develop that National Incident Command System. He will tell you it was a long uphill battle in Florida until Hurricane Andrew hit and then it became instantly popular. The next step was a promotion to Assistant Director of the Division of Forestry where he was responsible for oversight of the Division’s budget and personnel administration.  Because of his national recognition as a leader in fire programs he was allowed to continue to be involved nationally.  When the extreme fire season hit Florida he was thrust into the leadership role of being the Division’s representative responsible for fire operations in the state.  Even though he had spent time on several large western fires this was the most challenging fire operation he had ever faced.

Next he served as Director of the Division of Forestry, taking on the ultimate responsibility for the entire operations of the Division.  This included management of state forests, providing landowner assistance for forest land owners, prescribed fire and smoke management programs, wildland fire prevention, detection and suppression.  He continued to serve on many national fire committees during his time as State Forester.  He will tell you that his favorite was the National Smokey Bear Awards Committee.  Another was the National Wildfire Cooperating Group where they were responsible for setting standards and guides between the federal and state wildland fire programs and managing the National Incident Management System. 

During the entire time he was active in the Florida Fire Chief’s Association serving as Chair of the Disaster Response Committee where he was task to develop the Disaster Response Plan, serving on several fireworks task forces, and serving as a trustee on the Fire and Emergence Services Foundation. 

He serves as a firefighter for the Monticello Volunteer Fire Department and also helps with Jefferson County Fire Rescue when needed.  He is now the Assistant Chief of Monticello and does the Volunteer training for Jefferson County Fire Rescue. 

Military Experience

He served his county in the United States Army with foreign tours in Panama and Central and South America, and in Viet Nam.  His assignments included being an infantry platoon leader, instructor at the School of the Americas, and an instructor and executive officer at the U.S. Army Intelligence School.  Upon completion of his active duty he served as a company commander in the Pennsylvania National Guard where he also was leader of an anti-sniper/hostage response team.  Upon relocating to Florida he served with the Special Forces in the Florida National Guard before giving up his military career due to his commitment to his work with the Division.

EDUCATION

Received an Associate Degree in Forestry from Paul Smith’s College then proceeded to the State University College of Forestry at Syracuse University where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Natural Resource Management and a Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University in Forestry.  He has continued his education receiving Certified Public Supervisor and Certified Public Manager Certificates from Florida State University.  A strong believer in continuing education he is often found sitting in fire classes that promote firefighter safety.



 

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