A new Northern Region Director of Fire, Aviation and Air is in town…Ralph Rau came from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests in north Idaho where he was the Deputy Forest Supervisor.

"Well I'm responsible for oversight of fire programs in the region to the Regional Forester. Aviation like my title said...fire, aviation, fire aviation and fire and air," Rau said. "That'll be all the different fire programs we have, contracted resources, dispatch, fire crews, and whatnot. Obviously the forest supervisor and such run reports, but in a regional context, I'm responsible for that oversight function, those kind of things."

Rau said so far, he’s predicting a pretty normal fire season for Montana, but is prepared for whatever comes this summer.

"We have the aerial fire depot that has air tankers here, smokejumpers," Rau said. "And then of course spread throughout the region we have a jump base Grangeville, we have a jump base in west Yellowstone, we have contracts for air tankers and things, helicopter resources, aviation resources, hot shot crews, all those things."

The Northern Region spans 25 million acres of forests and grasslands in north Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and the northwest corner of South Dakota.