Jim Paxon, who became familiar to millions of people as the face and voice of the firefighters who valiantly battled the Rodeo-Chediski Fire that ravaged Arizona’s northern forests in 2002, has joined the Arizona Game and Fish Department as chief of public information.
Born and raised in Lubbock, Texas, Paxon has had a long-standing passion for the outdoors and its natural resources. He worked for the U.S. Forest Service for 33 years — the last 22 as a district ranger in Colorado and New Mexico.
During much of that time, he served on the Southwest Interagency Incident Management Team that manages major fires and other crises, serving as lead information officer on both the Rodeo-Chediski Fire and the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire in Los Alamos, N.M. In that capacity, he was in charge of public information and coordination of information with all involved agencies, including the White House.
Paxon remained involved in natural-resources work after retiring from the Forest Service in 2003, continuing to train firefighters as a founding member of the Arizona Wildfire Academy, and serving as a consultant working with Northern Arizona University’s Ecological Restoration Institute, KPNX-TV Channel 12, and the Arizona Republic. He also worked with forest communities, residents and businesses to reduce fire risks through the Firewise program.
“Jim brings extensive experience in natural resources management and public information work,” said Game and Fish Director Larry Voyles. “A number of our staff worked with him during his tenure with the Forest Service, particularly during the outstanding service he performed for Arizona citizens during the Rodeo-Chediski fire.
“We look forward to Jim putting his skills and his passion for the outdoors to work for Arizona and its wildlife.”
Paxon fills the position previously held by Bob Miles, who retired Dec. 30 after 26 years of service with Game and Fish.
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