CHEYENNE – Two Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees received a national award for their work in the fire program.
Richard Putnam and Reed Oldenburg received the 2020 Award for Excellence in BLM Fuels Management. This award was presented by the Fire and Aviation Directorate at the National Interagency Fire Center.
They received the award for growing and expanding the BLM Wyoming fuels program over the past several years. Under their leadership, Wyoming increased the reduction of hazardous fuels on BLM lands by almost 550 percent over the past five years. At the completion of the fiscal year 2020, the fuels program accomplished 93,148 acres of treatments, 119 percent of the original target and setting a new record for annual accomplishments.
Putnam and Oldenburg both currently work at the BLM Wyoming State Office, Office of Fire and Aviation in Cheyenne. Putnam has previously worked as a district fuels lead in Rock Springs for the High Desert District. During his time in Rock Springs he is proud of his work on the Wyoming Range Habitat Improvement Project. This project helped reduce conifer encroachment and improve aspen stands along with benefits to wildlife that live in the area. Oldenburg’s background includes working for Wyoming State Forestry as well as the BLM fuels crew in Rawlins.
In recent years, BLM Wyoming has been able to increase the amount of acres that are treated to reduce hazardous fuels to prevent wildfires as well as protect sage step ecosystems. The work that they are being recognized for is part of the larger effort supported by all the districts in Wyoming and their fuels staffs.
“This work is a team effort and I appreciate the recognition, but this award is really for the BLM Wyoming fuels program,” said Putnam.