Sacramento December 14, 2018 – CAL FIRE Director, Chief Ken Pimlott has announced his retirement, effective December 14, 2018. Chief Pimlott was appointed to director on July 12, 2011, by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. after serving as the acting director since November 2010. Chief Pimlott has 30 years of fire service experience with CAL FIRE. He began his career at age 17 as a reserve firefighter in Contra Costa County. Prior to being appointed to director, Chief Pimlott was the Deputy Director of Fire Protection, responsible for CAL FIRE’s Statewide Fire Protection Programs.
Chief Pimlott brought extensive knowledge and experience, as well as exceptional leadership to the department during his tenure. “While serving as director, Chief Pimlott accomplished a long list of achievements that will set the stage for CAL FIRE moving forward,” said Acting Director, Chief Thom Porter. “For all that Chief Pimlott has accomplished, we are thankful for his service to CAL FIRE and to the citizens of California.”
Chief Thom Porter has been announced as acting director on the heels of Chief Pimlott’s retirement. Chief Porter is currently serving as Chief, Strategic Planning. He was appointed Southern Region Chief on June 1, 2015, by Chief Pimlott. He began his career with CAL FIRE in 1999, as a Forester I in the Forestry Assistance Program at the Southern Operations Center. In 2001, he transferred to the San Diego Unit where he worked as the Urban and Community Forestry and then Unit Forester, responsible for the unit vegetation management and pre-fire programs. Chief Porter promoted to Forester II in 2002, leading the multi-agency collaborative Forest Area Safety Taskforce (FAST) and Border Area Fire Council (BAFC).
Chief Porter promoted to Forestry and Fire Protection Administrator in 2008, and was assigned to the Southern Operations Center in Riverside, where he coordinated the regional delivery of the department’s Resource Management Programs, including fuels management grant programs. In 2012, he promoted to Unit Chief of the San Diego Unit, where he was also the County Fire Authority Fire Chief. Chief Porter promoted to Assistant Region Chief for the Southern Region on December 1, 2013.
Prior to his CAL FIRE career, Chief Porter worked as a forester in the timber industry in Washington, Oregon, and California, developing timber harvesting plans, including planning and directing prescribed burning and company safety programs in all three states. He holds a bachelor’s degree in forest management from the University of California Berkeley and is a Registered Professional Forester.