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Helge Eng Announces Retirement from CAL FIRE, Embarks on New Chapter

By George Gentry, Senior Vice President, Calforests – Helge Eng, Deputy Director, Resource Management, announced his retirement from CAL FIRE, effective May 14th. You might assume that Helge would utilize that occasion to indulge in some relaxing hobby or pursuit. You would be wrong. Instead, Helge will become the new State Forester for Alaska. The location is not surprising, as Helge has a deep affinity for the Pacific Northwest, having left home in Norway, and traveling to British Columbia with a backpack and little else to pursue his degree in forestry from UBC.

Helge has over 25 years of forestry experience, including working in other countries as a forestry consultant. In 1992 Helge started his CAL FIRE career as a timber supply analyst at the Fire and Resources Assessment Program. He promoted in 1995 to Forester I then Forester II in 2002. From 2002-2005, he was responsible for forest inventories and harvest scheduling on the State Forests. In 2005, he promoted to Deputy Chief to become State Forest Program Manager. He then became the Assistant Deputy Director, Resource Protection and Improvement prior to his promotion to Deputy Director. For some context on the breadth of his new position, the State Division of Forestry in Alaska manages forests for multiple uses and the sustained yield of renewable resources on 20 million acres of State land.

Helge has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry from the University of British Columbia, a Master’s Degree in Forest Measurements, a Master’s Degree in Statistics, and a PhD in Forest Operations Research from Oregon State University.

On a personal note, I will greatly miss his dry humor, calm demeanor, and practical outlook. During my time with the Board of Forestry, he and I shared many challenging issues, and I deeply appreciated his support. I am very grateful to have had him as a colleague and friend.

Matthew Reischman, the Deputy Assistant Director for Environmental Protection, has been named acting Deputy Director.