Rich Cowger is chief of Columbus (Mont.) Fire Rescue, a combination department that serves a 375-square-mile area. He started with the department in 1993 and progressed through the ranks, becoming chief of the department in 1999 as a volunteer, and the department’s first full-time chief in 2008. Cowger currently serves as chairman of the Montana State Fire Chief’s Association and sits on the state’s wildland policy committee, as well as the Eastern Zone Mobilization Board for the NRGC. He’s red carded as a structure protection specialist with a Type 2 incident management team, and is active in the Western Fire Chief’s Association, the IAFC and VCOS.