Clay Dickerson’s childhood was on a farm in southwestern Oregon. His daily chores were those common to farm-life, and his outdoor lifestyle included hunting and fishing with much free time spent in the woods. After high school graduation, he began a lifetime of physically challenging forest work, including the annual fight against summer wildfires common to the area. Income from that job initially was used to finance his college education, and later to support his young family.
His abilities and college degree led to relocation and nine years of supervising reforestation activities in the Clatsop and Elliott State Forests – both located in the rugged Oregon Coast Range Mountain chain. During those years, Dickerson continued wildland fire suppression as assigned in all parts of Oregon, as well as northern California and southeastern Washington.
A job transfer allowed the Dickerson family to return to the old family farm north of Grants Pass. Management of his mother’s farm was added to Clay Dickerson’s responsibilities, where raising hay and beef cattle occurred. He was named the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Southwestern Oregon Management Unit Forester in 1978, holding that position until his retirement in 1999.
In 2003, a derelict ranch about twenty miles further north was purchased. Dickerson and his wife moved their herd of cattle and began a busy retirement of rebuilding and renewal on the rundown property. Always involved in their community and the education of youth, individually and as a couple, Dickerson and his wife continued to be connected to school activities and the local rural fire department.
At the urging of his family, Dickerson turned to writing his memoirs in 2018, with a focus on his wildland fire fighting experiences. The result was his first published work, Fire At My Feet (iUniverse, 2018).
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