Firefighter training among acting Nevada forester priorities
Posted June 11
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada's first female acting state forester says bolstering firefighter training is among her priorities as she takes over an agency that recently underwent an investigation and added more seasonal firefighters.
Kacey KC was named to the post in April after the former state forester, Joe Freeland, resigned following an independent investigation into a fire set by authorities to reduce wildfire risk that escaped and destroyed 23 homes north of Carson City.
The probe concluded the state Forestry Division needed more seasonal firefighters and more training. Since then, the agency has hired an additional 37 recruits compared with the previous three years.
KC said she's worried about this year's fire season, as the area's wet winter produced a large amount of cheatgrass, a weed that helps fuel wildfires. To prepare, she's focused on building on the firefighter training program.
"The fires are here, but we're on top of it," KC said.
She added: "I feel excited for the opportunities ahead of this team. We have time to grow from past experiences and perfect what we do."
KC previously served as deputy administrator. Years earlier, she says, she gained invaluable experience while serving in the Peace Corps in Nepal. That's also where she got her unusual last name.
KC, whose maiden name is Kester, said she started her current career path while serving as a community forester in Nepal and ended up meeting the man she would marry.
Her husband's name was Khantri-Chhetri, two popular surnames in Nepal where it's common to abbreviate Nepali surnames with initials.
KC says when they moved to the United States in 2002, her husband had to remove the periods from his abbreviated name for his official ID. That's how she became Kacey KC.
She now lives with her husband and two daughters in Gardnerville, where she graduated from Douglas High School in 1995.
KC began her career at the Nevada Division of Forestry in 2002 after graduating from the University of Montana with a bachelor's in forestry resource and conservation.
Two years before that, she did the stint in Nepal, where she worked with local groups and helped develop plans to manage land in areas where forests were degraded by landslides.
"I learned way more from those in Nepal than they learned from me," she told the Nevada Appeal (http://tinyurl.com/y96zrws7). "Working with a different culture and environment helped me develop my skills and ability as a forester."