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NEVADA COUNTY, Calif. December 17, 2019 – CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Sean Griffis is retiring after a long career in the Nevada-Yuba-Placer unit. Besides his regular duties, Griffis took over an exchange internship program, where students from outside the U.S. spend ten weeks learning how CAL FIRE’s system works.

Chief Griffis and intern Charlotte Dalbos at Station 20 in 2018.

Chief Griffis was instrumental in reviving and improving the lookout volunteer program. The lookout volunteers earned high praise from Griffis, who said earlier this year “The [new] cameras will be great for a cross [location] but the lookouts are the first to report new starts. That’s the backbone of our system. They are constantly scanning the horizon. These volunteers are willing to do that for the community and the fire services, they are an integral part of the first response. The volunteer system still has a lot of years to go, in my opinion.”

On Sunday, the Grass Valley Emergency Command Center (ECC) had a special message to all units:

“Today, after over 30 years of service to the citizens of CA, Battalion Chief Sean Griffis will be working his last day as a Battalion Chief. His entire career has been dedicated to the Nevada Yuba Placer Unit, but his service to the community was never limited.

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Battalion Chief Griffis started as a 17 year old CETA worker, riding his bike to the Grass Valley Air Attack Base. He became a CDF Firefighter in 1982, also at the air base and then ascended through the ranks of Fire Apparatus Engineer, Fire Captain, and Battalion Chief, landing as Battalion 2314 in 2008. Sean utilized his education as a graduate of Utah State University and served as the VMP forester, managing the Unit’s Fire Plan and Fire Engineering program. His service as a Battalion Chief includes time as both the Command Center Chief and Battalion 14.

For many years, the Unit has relied on his historical knowledge about Nevada, Yuba, and Placer Counties, as well as his skill as a Plans Section Chief to coordinate multiple projects. Sean’s natural people skills allowed him to be the successful coordinator for our lookout volunteers and the conduit to many retired NEU Employees.

Sean leaves the Unit later this month for retirement, and to spend time with his wife Denise of 25 years, and his extended family including 6 children, 8 grand kids, and 1 great-granddaughter.

Chief Griffis, on behalf of CAL FIRE, thank you for your dedication and years of service to the citizens of CA and the Nevada Yuba Placer Unit.”

Editor’s note: Thank you for your service Chief Griffis!