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William Penn Mott Jr., who resigned as head of the National Park Service amid controversy over the handling of the 1989 Yellowstone Park fire, has died of heart failure at his home. He was 82.

Mott, who served both the Reagan and Bush administrations, generated a storm of controversy with his belief that forest fires generally should be allowed to take their natural course.From 1946 to 1962, Mott served as superintendent of parks for the city of Oakland, later becoming director of the East Bay Regional Parks District.

In 1967, he was named to head the California state park system by then Gov. Ronald Reagan. Nearly 20 years later, President Reagan named him to the top spot with the National Parks Service.