C.S. Cowan (1927-1957)

Public Education to Protect Forests Becomes a Priority

In 1927, Charles S. Cowan was appointed Chief Fire Warden and for more than 30 years he directed the Association. He wrote the book, “The Enemy is Fire” which is the history of the Washington Forest Fire Association. He is the longest serving Manager of the Association. One effort Cowan worked on was with the State Division of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service to eliminate the duplication of effort in the field when fire fighting, including overlapping patrols, conflict of authority, and unnecessary expense. “This was a genuine forward step,” Cowan said. Also, Cowan was able to form relationships with teachers across the state. Efforts were made to deliver a series of lectures to the future teachers of grade and high schools on topics like: Forestry in the Public Schools, Natural History of the Forest, and Economic Importance of Our Forests. Finally, he was able to begin communication with the public by using the new medium of radio to make the public aware of fire danger.

Cowan is the longest serving manager of the Association.