As Oregon wrestles with the worst week of wildfires in recent memory, a top official in the fire response resigned on Saturday, Sept. 12, with little explanation.
Fire Marshal Jim Walker has been previously put on paid administrative leave, the Oregon State Police announced Saturday morning. Mariana Ruiz-Temple, chief deputy fire marshal, has been named acting state fire marshal.
A few hours later on Saturday, Walker offered his resignation to Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton, who accepted it.
"Mariana has led with grace, transparency and courage," said Governor Kate Brown. "She embodies the experience Oregon needs to face this crisis, in this moment."
In a brief press release sent out by OSP's Hampton earlier in the day, the agency reported that "the circumstances necessitated a leadership change."
The statement by Hampton continues: "I have the absolute confidence in Mariana to lead OSFM operations through this critical time. She is tested, trusted and respected — having the rare combination of technical aptitude in field operations and administration."
The abrupt change is reportedly due to a "personnel matter" and not Walker's handling of the fire response.
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