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Oregon State Fire Marshal Replaced Amid Wildfires

Mariana Ruiz-Temple is now Oregon’s acting state fire marshal.
Oregon State Police
Mariana Ruiz-Temple

The Oregon State Police superintendent Saturday said Fire Marshal Jim Walker had been placed on paid administrative leave.

Later in the day, OPS announced that Walker had resigned his post.

Mariana Ruiz-Temple is now Oregon’s acting state fire marshal.

“Mariana is assuming this position as Oregon is in an unprecedented crisis which demands an urgent response,” OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton said in a statement. "This response and the circumstances necessitated a leadership change. I have the absolute confidence in Mariana to lead OSFM operations through this critical time. She is tested, trusted and respected – having the rare combination of technical aptitude in field operations and administration.”

OSP did not state a reason for the change in leadership. Ruiz-Temple steps into the position as more than 1 million acres in Oregon have burned due to continuing wildfires.

Ruiz-Temple was previously Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal.

“Mariana has led with grace, transparency and courage,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement. “She embodies the experience Oregon needs to face this crisis, in this moment.”

Walker had been the state’s fire marshal since 2014.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Meerah Powell is a general assignment and breaking news reporter for OPB. She previously worked as a news reporter and podcast producer for Eugene Weekly in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon. Along with writing and audio work, Meerah also has experience with photography and videography. She graduated from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication.