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1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
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John Pritchard

Forestry Pioneer

John PritchardJohn Pritchard (Pritch) was born and raised in Salt Lake City, where he was an All-State basketball player. He went to Utah State University on a basketball scholarship and graduated with a degree in Forestry in 1962. He married Peggy Shartzer in Flagstaff, Ariz., in 1961, and they raised three children. Pritch spent two years as an Infantry Officer at Forts Benning and Ord and was the Company Commander of a training company. Following military service, he worked for the Utah Dept. of Forestry and Fire control as the District Forester in Cedar City, Utah, and then in the state office as the Assistant State Forester for Fire Control.

In 1967 Pritch was hired by the USFS as a forester, and subsequently worked on the Bitterroot, Helena, Clearwater and Kootenai National Forests, and was District Ranger on the Fortine District at Murphy Lake.

He became the Cooperative Fire Specialist in the Regional Office in 1983 and remained in that job until his retirement in 1999. He was responsible for the cooperative fire programs between the USFS and other federal agencies, as well as the states of Montana, Idaho and North Dakota. Pritch helped the Northern Rockies Coordinating Group (NRCG) to implement the National Interagency Management System in all fire agencies in the three states, and served as the advisor to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to determine which state fires qualified for FEMA assistance. Pritch worked with the states to determine which of their budget proposals would be federally funded and distributed the money between the states. He helped Montana and Idaho correct their fire protection imbalance, and obtain federal excess fire equipment. Together with Montana, and other agencies, he helped develop Montana’s first set of interagency fire restrictions. He was a member of the “Keep Montana Green” committee, as well as a committee that determined which county proposals for fire related projects the State of Montana would fund.

Pritch and his wife Peggy live in Missoula and  have three children: Kathleen, Christine and John.


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