Todd Pechota is the National Forest Fire Management Officer of the Year.
He works for the Black Hills National Forest and lives in Custer.
Pechota is a Type One Incident Commander. He is the leader of one of only 16 type one teams in the United States. Firefighters at this level are assigned to the very worst wildfires in the country.
Pechota acknowledges his team for the award.
“It’s less about me and it’s more about all the people that I work with on a daily basis that are deserving of the award,” says Pechota. This job and fire management it’s a team effort it’s not just the Black Hills National Forest and our personnel. It’s everybody who contributes in anyway and that goes to state and local government and all our other partners and cooperators,” Pechota adds.
Pechota grew up in Todd County on the Rosebud Reservation. He says part of the job of a fire fighter is also to be a role model. He credits those who have mentored him along the way and he hopes to pass on that same inspiration.