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Forestry Chief Byron Haire celebrated for 30 years of service

Byron Haire has spent close to three decades with the Georgia Forestry Commission.

A regional office of the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) is under new leadership following the retirement of its longtime Chief Ranger and Area fire management officer. Byron Haire of Sylvania has spent close to three decades with the Commission. He is succeeded by Kim Lynn, who is assuming leadership of 12 counties within the greater Statesboro area.

“To say we’re going to miss Byron Haire is an understatement,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Director Tim Lowrimore. “He is one of the most dedicated, knowledgeable professionals I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside, and his service has meant a tremendous amount to GFC and the state.”

Haire joined the Georgia Forestry Commission in 1993 as an Evans County forest ranger. Through the years he has helped suppress hundreds of wildfires in Georgia and 13 other states, including Louisiana, Oregon, and Alaska. He has responded to emergency events such as Hurricanes Fran and Katrina, countless tornadoes, and even a shuttle recovery mission. He has served his local communities with forestry knowledge and fire prevention and protection expertise.

In 1997, Haire rose from ranger to chief ranger in Screven County and then to district ranger and assistant district manager, and Area 8 Fire Management Officer in Statesboro from 2010-2023. He and his GFC Unit won a number of agency awards and accolades for fire prevention and volunteer service. Haire earned distinction by achieving the state position of Incident Command System task force leader, public information officer, and fire prevention specialist.

To his colleagues and customers, Haire will long be remembered for his personal service to those in need, including victims of fires or storms. He volunteered for countless tree plantings, educational programs, and stints portraying the US Forest Service’s fire prevention mascot, Smokey Bear.

“The people are the most important part of it all,” said Haire as he reflected on his career; “those who assisted and those who are assisted. We have so many at GFC who go above and beyond each day. It’s the greatest blessing of all. Our community is filled with those who have the desire to help others.”

In retirement, Haire said he plans to travel, hunt, devote more time to Oak Grove Church in Tattnall County, and be with his wife, Charlene, and their grandchildren. “We love to play yard ball, camp, and roam the woods, so there will be a lot more of that!”