Undated Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. Photo: OSP

Oregon is in the midst of one of, if not the, worst fire seasons experienced in modern Oregon history. Today, without explanation, the state’s top fire official — Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker — was placed on paid administrative leave without explanation. 

Hours later, the Oregon State Police announced that Walker had resigned and that Oregon State Police superintendent Travis Hampton had appointed acting State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple, to become the new Fire Marshal. Ruiz-Temple had been acting Fire Marshal for a few hours today, serving prior to that as Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal.

"Mariana has led with grace, transparency and courage," said Governor Kate Brown. "She embodies the experience Oregon needs to face this crisis, in this moment."

In a terse 74 word press release from the Oregon State Police announcing the administrative leave, Hampton, who is retiring November 1, said that Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple has been appointed acting Oregon State Fire Marshal.

“Mariana is assuming this position as Oregon is in an unprecedented crisis which demands an urgent response.  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 it tested, trusted and respected – having the rare combination of technical aptitude in field operations and administration,” he said.

According to the OSFM, Walker had been serving as marshal since 2014.

This story has been updated following the announcement that Walker had resigned.