NFFE Applauds Dismissal of Court Case Against USFS Burn Boss

Malheur NF

Contact: Matt Dorsey
(202) 550-6987

June 10, 2024

Washington, DC – Today, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) applauds the dismissal of a federal court case against Ricky Snodgrass, a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) wildland firefighter who was arrested while working as an active “burn boss” on the Malheur National Forest in Grant County, Oregon. Grant County Sheriff Todd McKinley took Snodgrass into custody during a prescribed burn operation after the fire unexpectedly jumped a roadway when wind suddenly picked up, causing the fire to burn several acres of grasslands on private property.

NFFE National President Randy Erwin released the following statement following the dismissal of the case against Firefighter Snodgrass:

“For nearly two years, Ricky Snodgrass has endured unnecessary hardships because he was unlawfully detained for simply doing his job. Prescribed burns are essential to keeping communities across this country safe from wildfires. Unfortunately, Ricky’s arrest, indictment, and the subsequent turbulence he and his family faced will cause other wildland firefighters to reconsider their roles as burn bosses. Without a robust program utilizing prescribed fires to clear debris and fuels, the wildfire crisis will only intensify, putting the workforce and the public in further danger.”

“Since Ricky’s arrest, NFFE has been proud to support him through this undeserved and difficult situation. We continue to affirm that there must be consequences for this unprecedented abuse of power and incredibly dangerous disruption to the critical work of the Forest Service. NFFE applauds the Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service, and the Department of Justice for expressing their full support of Ricky throughout this process. I am glad that the correct result was reached, however, we must prevent future unlawful actions against Forest Service employees or any other federal civil servants.”