Cal Fire chief retiring after two bad CA wildfire seasons | The Sacramento Bee (sacbee.com)
(Link to article above.)
CAL FIRE Chief Thom Porter has announced his resignation, effective December 10, 2021. Excerpts from the Sacramento Bee article linked above:
“…(I)n an e-mail to employees, Porter said he will leave the agency on December 10, almost three years to the day when he was named acting director by former Governor Jerry Brown. He was named permanent director one month late, in January 2019, on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first day on the job.”
“In his e-mail, Porter said he plans to return to San Diego ‘to focus on family, aging parents, and self.’”
He said he’s leaving with ‘bittersweet feelings, balanced by deep pride, for CAL FIRE.”
“Porter began at Cal Fire in 1999 as a forester and has served as chief of strategic planning, southern region chief, San Diego unit fire chief, and other posts.” Governor Newsom said in a prepared statement “Chief Porter has seen the state through unprecedented wildfire challenges over the past three years, and Californians are fortunate to have had his steadfast leadership guiding our preparedness, response, and recovery efforts.”
(The rest of the article has other information, including a review of recent California wildfire seasons.)
As our members know, “CAL FIRE” is short for “California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.” Though CAL FIRE has jurisdiction over “forest practice” — and the licensing of “LTOS” (Licensed Timber Operators), ACL has had the ongoing mission of keeping CAL FIRE as focused on its forestry role as its fire service role. We also work with CAL FIRE on its distribution of “wildfire and climate” related grants which end up funding logging work. ACL has met with Chief Porter many times in recent years.
CAL FIRE has been, and will be, at the center of much of ACL’s work at the state level. The agency has been given a lot of money, has a lot of “state firefighter union strength,” and must interact with Governor Newsom and his Natural Resources Agency above them, not to mention the environmental community. The new Chief will no doubt inherit a lot of work and will have to “hit the ground running.”
ACL will be watching to see who takes over as the CAL FIRE Director once Chief Porter leaves the office on December 10. ACL will seek a meeting with the new Chief as soon as he or she is appointed.
Chief Thom Porter was always willing to meet with ACL and to talk to us. We thank him for his service and wish him well.