GREAT FALLS — Dirk Johnson has been serving as the acting state fire marshal from last August until this month - but recently was officially appointed to the full-time job.
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen officially appointed Johnson to the position a few weeks ago.
Johnson is responsible for the DOJ's Fire Prevention & Investigation Section, which oversees fire prevention and investigation work across many agencies in Montana.
Johnson works from Great Falls, a place he’s very familiar with. He spent time as the city’s fire marshal and is looking forward to continuing serving the city and the state.
He does expect some challenges and uncertainty given how last fire season was.
“It’s been good,” Johnson said of the job so far. “There’s quite a learning curve of course when you start to deal with state law and fire code and working with the building department. That kind of stuff is a new realm compared to working for a city. It’s dry. We can use all the moisture we can get so it’s unknown. You know we’ve already had a few wildfires in what we call wintertime so that’s unusual.”
His time as city fire marshal certainly didn’t go unnoticed as his old coworkers back at the fire stations in town are all confident in his ability to serve the state.
Johnson and current city fire marshal Mike McIntosh are both expecting dry conditions this coming spring and summer, but McIntosh says the state is in good hands with Johnson serving as the state fire marshal.
“Dirk is one of the happiest people you’ll ever meet, and he is very good at building and bridging relationships. That’s something that he did here when he was the fire marshal for the city of Great Falls. He built relationships among the other departments within the city but also the community. And I can see him doing that at the state level and being very successful at that,” McIntosh said.
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