Welcome to Riverside County Fire Chiefs Association
Riverside County Fire Chiefs Association

ob Announcement: Pechanga Indian Reservation

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11th Year Anniversary - Oct. 26, 2006 Esperanza Fire - Request for Moment of Silence

Eleven years ago, today, one of the most tragic fires to take firefighters from us occurred in Riverside County. As you well know, it was called the Esperanza Fire, started at the south side of Cabazon off Esperanza Street and proceeded to burn about 40,000 acres as it headed southwest to just east of the Soboba Indian Reservation. On its way, the fire killed five valiant and dedicated USFS firefighters at a residence they were defending. The fire ran over San Bernardino National Forest (BDF) Engine 57 at 15400 Gorgonio View Drive defending the ‘Octagon House.

Killed while attempting to save the residence at the same address were: Captain Mark Loutzenhiser, 43, from Idyllwild, California; Fire Engine Operator Jess "Gus" McLean, 27, from Beaumont, California; Assistant Fire Engine Operator Jason McKay, 27, from Apple Valley, California; Firefighter Pablo Cerda, 23, from Fountain Valley, California; and Firefighter Daniel Hoover/Najera, 20, from San Jacinto, California.
Many of us remember the first alert of the burn over at 7:57am. We knew the situation was bad even before we knew the details. Many of us will never forget where we were when we first heard the tragic news. None of us will forget the horrid loss of firefighters.

This morning at 7:30am, the approximate time when the firefighters were taken from us, the Perris ECC will announce a moment of silence on both dispatch frequencies, RRU-1 and RRU-3. At that time, I ask that you convene at the fire station or facility flag pole and hold a moment of silence while the ECC reads a statement of respect. The loss of FC Loutzenhiser, Engineer McLean, Assistant Engineer McKay and Firefighters Pablo Cerda and Danny Hoover-Najera will always be with us.

I am honored to recognize these valiant firefighters. We shall never forget. Thank you very much.

- Chief John Hawkins

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Cathedral City to Add Six Additional Firefighter/Paramedics After Receiving a Federal Emergency Management Agency Grant

Cathedral City to Add Six Additional Firefighter/Paramedics After Receiving a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant

By Paul S. Wilson, Fire Chief

The City of Cathedral City is pleased to announce the award of a FEMA grant to hire six additional firefighter / paramedics.

The three-year grant provides $1,393,193. for salaries and benefits to maintain adequate firefighter staffing for the community.

The new firefighter / paramedics will be assigned to the fire engines at Fire Station 411 at 36913 Date Palm Dr. (East Palm Canyon and Date Palm) and Fire Station 413 at 27610 Landau Blvd (Vista Chino and Landau)

The City was one of only three-hundred and sixty-six fire departments nationwide and one of only twenty-two fire departments in California to be awarded a SAFER grant in federal fiscal year 2016/17.

The City would like to recognize the elected officials and their staff members who sent letters of support to FEMA on behalf of the City SAFER grant application;
• United States Senator Dianne Feinstein
• United States Senator Kamala D. Harris
• Member of Congress Raul Ruiz
• California State Senator, 28th District Jeff Stone
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants were created to provide funding directly to fire departments to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association.

The SAFER program requires the City to provide a portion of the total costs over the three-year period, roughly $850,000, in addition to the nearly $1.4 million federal grant. The City’s portion will come mainly from new revenue generated by the medical cannabis industry located in Cathedral City.

If you have any questions, regarding the Award of the SAFER Grant, please contact your Cathedral City Fire Department at fireinfo@cathedralcity.gov or (760) 770-8200.

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Fire Captain Scott Bethurum is Promoted is Riverside Unit Training Officer Battalion Chief

Scott entered the Fire Service in 1997 starting with Volunteer Fire Company 21 in the City of Calimesa. Soon after, CAL FIRE employed Scott as a Firefighter I in BDU serving at the Yucaipa FFS. After four fire seasons, Scott was hired permanently as a Firefighter II in 2001 and returned to the Riverside Unit working in the City of Banning. Scott became a Fire Apparatus Engineer in 2003 and served in the Hemet and Beaumont Battalions then promoted to Captain in 2011. Since promoting to Captain, Scott has been in Battalions 11 and 3, worked frequently in the Perris ECC, and most recently has been assigned as a Fire Captain in the Health and Safety Bureau.

Scott Lives in the City of Beaumont with his wife Gretchen, and his two sons, Devin (13) and Colin (10).

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Deputy Forest Fire Chief Mike Nobles has been appointed as the Deputy Forest Fire Chief of the San Bernardino National Forest

Chief Nobles currently serves as the Deputy Forest Fire Chief of the Cleveland National Forest. Chief Nobles comes to the BDF with 28 years of fire experience, beginning his career on the Stanislaus N.F. and later moving to the Cleveland N.F. where he worked his way up in the fire organization to Engine Captain, Battalion Chief and serving the past three years as the Deputy Forest Fire Chief. Chief Nobles bring a variety of experience working in fire suppression, fuels management and interagency cooperation. Chief Nobles has a tentative start date of October 1, 2017

Chief Nobles will replace Deputy Forest Fire Chief Randy Unkovich. Chief Unkovich worked on the BDF back in the 1990’s and later returned to work on the San Jacinto Ranger District, Vista Grande Hotshots, FICC as an Operations Manager, Front Country Ranger District as a Battalion Chief, promoted to the Forest Fire Prevention Officer position and later became the Deputy Forest Fire Chief. Chief Unkovich will retire at the end of September leaving the agency with a wealth of knowledge and experience he’s gained throughout his career.

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Hemet Fire Department Best and Bravest Promotional Ceremony

On Friday August 18, 2017, the Hemet Fire/EMS Department conducted it’s Best and Bravest Promotional Ceremony at the Salvation Army.

The event, held at the Salvation Army facility in Hemet, served to recognize 16 of Hemet Fire Departments finest. Over 210 family members, community leaders and area business owners attended HFD’s first ever promotional Ceremony.

Battalion Chiefs, Skip Irland, Kevin Kuhlman and Jamie Majchrzak received their “Gold Badges” as part of the HFD’s newly established Command Team. Newly promoted Fire Captains Pat Brown and David Lindberg also were officially recognized as our newest Company Officers. Mike Anaya, Christopher Baker, Daniel Billington, Scott Durbin and Dominick Fiorenza also received their Badges, honored for their promotion to Fire Apparatus Engineer.

The capstone of the evening was a formal welcome and Badge pinning of HFD’s newest members, joining the ranks of Firefighter/Paramedic; Daniel Hayes, Joshua Klimek, Zachary Petite, Jordon Ruston, Robert Schwartz and Andrew Tusa.

I had the honor to conduct the official Oath of Office at the conclusion of the evenings Ceremony. This event is yet another milestone as the Hemet Fire Department moves forward into the future –

Pride, Professionalism, Commitment!
Hemet Fire/EMS Department
Scott Brown, Fire Chief

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Colorado's American Medical Response ambulance business to be sold in $2.4 billion deal

American Medical Response, the Colorado-headquartered ambulance business of Envision Healthcare Corp., will be sold to New York buyout firm KKR & Co. LP in an all-cash deal worth $2.4 billion, Envision said today.

KKR plans to combine Greenwood Village-based AMR with its Texas-based portfolio company, Air Medical Group Holdings (AMGH).

Envision Healthcare Corp. NYSE: EVHC) was formed by the December 2016 merger of Nashville-based AmSurg Corp. and Colorado-based Envision Healthcare Holdings Inc. Envision now is primarily based in Nashville, although AMR still lists its headquarters as Greenwood Village.

Envision says it wants to focus on other aspects of its medical-services business, including physician-focused services, post-acute care and ambulatory surgery.

The company earlier this year merged two of the country’s largest hospital-focused physician groups, a move aimed at helping it grow its health-system contracts.

"We are pleased to have identified a strong partner for American Medical Response," Christopher Holden, Envision's president and CEO, said in today's announcement. "The Envision leadership team conducted a robust process to review strategic alternatives for AMR. The agreement delivers on our commitment to continue the proud tradition of AMR and enables Envision to focus on its physician-centric strategy and ongoing services, including facility-based provider services, post-acute care and ambulatory surgery."

The combined company will operate ground and air ambulances in 46 states and Washington, D.C. AMR currently has 27,000 employees and AMGH has 6,600.

The combined company will get a new name, and AMR and AMGH will operate as two divisions of that company, today's announcement says.

It says AMR and AMGH "will continue to support operations from two key leadership locations in Greenwood Village ... and Lewisville [Texas]."

Randel G. Owen, Envision’s president of ambulatory services, will be president and CEO of the new combined company, with AMR's current president and CEO, Edward Van Horne, staying on as head of the AMR division.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to regulatory approval.

Envision originally was formed when Canadian private-equity firm Onex Corp. acquired AMR and another business, EmCare, from Laidlaw International Inc. in 2004. The combined company was then called Emergency Medical Services Corp. (EMSC).

EMSC went public a year later, with Onex still holding a controlling interest.

In 2011, an affiliate of private-equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice agreed to buy EMSC in a deal valued at $3.2 billion and take the company private.

The company changed its name to Envision in 2013 and went public.

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Recreational Target Shooting Restrictions

SAN BERNARDINO, California, July 19, 2017 – Recreational target shooting restriction will go into effect starting July 22, 2017 throughout the San Bernardino National Forest.

After increase in fire activity across the forest, a heat wave in late June that has sped up the drying trends in vegetation and caused rapid down turns in live fuel moistures, along with the above average grass crops this year Fire Managers have decided to implement restrictions on recreational target shooting restriction within the San Bernardino National Forest.
“Our number one priority is always the safety of our firefighters and the public we serve which is why we have decided that restrictions for recreational shooting is necessary at this time” said Dan O’Connor the fuels and fire prevention officer on the San Bernardino National Forest.

The recreational target shooting restrictions are effective July 22, 2017 on all San Bernardino National Forest lands are as follows:

• Discharging a firearm is prohibited
• Persons exempt from this restriction include:
o Any federal, state or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
o Persons with a permit from the Forest Service specifically authorizing the prohibited act or omission.
o Persons engaged in lawful hunting are exempt from this prohibition.

Fire Management Officer Jaime Gamboa said that everyone can play a role in keeping our community safe. “The community and all forest users can help in the prevention of fires by being careful when using your public lands and by remaining vigilant in reporting illegal and inappropriate behaviors within the forest and our community.”

The US Forest Service will be aggressively citing those who do not comply with the posted restrictions. Violation of these prohibitions is subject to punishment by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both, as Class B misdemeanors under federal law. Persons may also be responsible for resource damage, suppression costs and any injuries that occur if they are found liable for causing a wildfire.
Forest visitors are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” and call ahead to the local Ranger Station to check on location conditions and restrictions at the following offices:

San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor’s Office
602 S. Tippecanoe Ave., San Bernardino
(909) 382-2600

Big Bear Discovery Center
41397 North Shore Drive / Highway 38, Fawnskin
(909) 382-2790

San Jacinto Ranger Station
54270 Pine Crest, Idyllwild
(909) 382-2922

Front Country Ranger Station
1209 Lytle Creek Road, Lytle Creek
(909) 382-2851

Mill Creek Visitor Center
34701 Mill Creek Road, Mentone
(909) 382-2881

Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center
51-500 Highway 74 Palm Desert
(760) 862-9984

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Loss of San Bernardino National Forest Employee


SAN BERNARDINO, California, August 3, 2017 – It is with great sadness that San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron announces the loss of firefighter Brent Witham. Brent died yesterday on the Lolo Peak Fire, burning on the Lolo National Forest in western Montana.

Brent, 29, began his firefighting career first as a member of the Tahquitz Hand Crew, in 2011; then as a firefighter on Engine-56, in 2013; and most recently, as a member of the San Bernardino’s Vista Grande Hotshots since 2015. During fire hiring in the fall of 2015, Brent was selected as an apprentice of what promised to be an outstanding career.

“Our hearts go out to Brent’s family, friends, fellow Vista Grande Hotshots, the Forest Service, and the entire wildland fire community,” said Noiron. “Brent was a hardworking professional, who was eager to learn and be the best that he could be—he will be missed by all he touched.”

Further details regarding the cause of death are pending a Forest Service investigation.

About the U.S. Forest Service:

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

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Health Classic Golf Tourament

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Andrea Lannen-Littlefield has accepted the new BLM Center Manager position at the Federal Interagency Communications Center (FICC). This position will work in cooperation with the Forest Service Center Manager to provide service to all of the federal partners at FICC along with our adjoining federal, state and local communication centers. Andrea has a Batchelor of Arts degree from Northern Arizona University, started her federal career in 2001 with the National Park Service at the Black Rock fire station as a firefighter on a type three engine. Andrea comes to us with an extensive background in wildland and law enforcement dispatching and as an Operations Manager for the Forest Service over the past 11 years. Andrea’s tentative start date is August 20th 2017. Please help me welcome Andrea to her new position.

James R Tomaselli
Associate Fire Management Officer
California Desert Inter-agency Fire Program

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Arsonist Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Setting 25 Coachella Valley Fires

Indio, CA -
A man convicted of setting 25 structures and vehicles ablaze throughout the Coachella Valley over 14 months was sentenced to 10 years in state prison Friday.

Luis Josue Perales, 23, pleaded guilty last month to setting 25 separate fires between Jan. 15, 2015 and March 31, 2016, including setting fire to three occupied buildings, two unoccupied buildings, six vehicles and several other miscellaneous pieces of property, including palm trees and dumpsters. Nineteen of the fires occurred in the city of Indio and nearby areas and six of the fires broke out in Palm Springs.

Perales pleaded guilty to 25 separate arson counts, plus one count of burglary for breaking into a home where one of the fires was set.

Had he been sentenced for all counts consecutively, Perales would have been sent to prison for more than 150 years. However, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Harold W. Hopp ruled that all the sentences would run concurrent with one count of arson, plus a sentence-enhancing allegation of burning multiple structures.

Perales also faced several other sentence-enhancing allegations of causing fires that burned multiple structures, using a device to accelerate the spread of the fires, and committing arson in areas where the state's emergency drought regulations were under effect.

County fire investigators, with assistance from the Palm Springs police and fire departments, arrested Perales on the morning of March 31, 2016 on South Palm Canyon Drive, according to Jody Hagemann of the Riverside County Fire Department.

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National Preparedness Level Definitions

Description: Minimal large fire activity nationally. Most Geographic Areas have low to moderate fire danger. There is little or no commitment of National Resources.

Preparedness Level 2
Description: Several Geographic Areas are experiencing high to extreme fire danger. Wildland fire activity is increasing, and large fires are occurring in one (1) or more Geographic Areas. Minimal mobilization of resources from other Geographic Areas is occurring. There is moderate commitment of National Resources with the potential to mobilize additional resources from other Geographic Areas.

Preparedness Level 3
Description: Two (2) or more Geographic Areas are experiencing wildland or prescribed fire activities requiring a major commitment of National Resources. Additional resources are being ordered and mobilized through NICC. Type 1 and 2 Incident Management Teams are committed in two (2) or more Geographic Areas and crew commitment nationally is at 50%.

Preparedness Level 4
Description: Three (3) or more Geographic Areas are experiencing incidents requiring Type 1 and 2 Incident Management Teams. Competition exists for resources between Geographic Areas. Nationally, 60% of Type 1 and 2 Incident Management Teams and crews are committed.

Preparedness Level 5
Description: Geographic Areas are experiencing major incidents which have the potential to exhaust all agency fire resources. Eighty percent (80%) of Type 1 and Type 2 Incident Management Teams and crews are committed, as well as the majority of other National Resources.

Preparedness Level 5 to 4
Description: Competition for resources has significantly decreased. No critical fire weather events are forecasted for the next twenty-four (24) hours, and moderating weather conditions are forecasted for the next three (3) to five (5) days.

Preparedness Level 4 to 3
Description: Significant demobilization is occurring. Crews are being released daily and sent to home units. Fifty percent (50%) of total crew capability is available for new fires. All ground DoD resources have been released. Moderating conditions are forecasted for the next twenty-four (24) hours, and higher humidity and lower temperatures are forecasted for the major fire areas.

Preparedness Level 3 to 2
Description: The majority of large fires are contained. Initial attack resources are again available. Geographic Area crew availability is at or above the 50% level. There is no competition for resources between Geographic Areas. Large fire areas are expected to receive precipitation, with associated higher humidity and lower temperatures.

For more detailed information refer to the National Interagency Mobilization Guide, chapter 20.

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Please enjoy this edition of the Murrieta Fire Dispatch

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Southern California Weather Discussion

Strong high pressure will sit over the Southwestern States causing temperatures to be 5 to 10 degrees above normal through the end of next week. Maximum temperatures will be in the mid 80s to mid 90s across the mountains and mid 90s to 105 in the valleys. Minimum humidity will be mainly between 12% and 25% away from the coastal areas through this weekend and then it will increase to 20% to 40% across Southern California early next week. Isolated afternoon showers and thunderstorms will form over the Sierra and Northern Deserts this afternoon and then isolated afternoon showers and thunderstorms will affect both the Sierra and the mountains and deserts of Southern California east of the I-15 corridor Saturday through early next week. At this time, models show an increase in shower and thunderstorm activity starting the middle of next week. There will be nighttime north winds of 10 to 20 mph across Santa Barbara County and the Grapevine through Sunday. Westerly winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 40 mph will surface across the wind prone desert areas each afternoon and evening through the end of next week.

The potential for large fire will be elevated across most of the region through this weekend due to hot and dry conditions. The large fire threat will decrease across Southern California next week as humidity becomes fairly high, but the potential for large fire will remain elevated across Central California. Lightning activity will remain isolated and confined to the higher terrain through early next week so it will not greatly increase fire activity. Expect moderate initial attack activity across the region through early next week and then possibly heavy IA activity toward the middle and end of next week if lightning activity increases.

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Governor Brown Declares State of Emergency in Butte County Due to Wall Fire

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an emergency proclamation for Butte County due to the effects of the Wall Fire, which has burned hundreds of acres, damaged critical infrastructure, threatened homes and caused the evacuation of residents.

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CDCR Inmate Firefighter Dies of Injuries

It saddens me to share that Inmate Firefighter Frank Anaya has died following a traumatic chainsaw injury he sustained while fighting the Interstate-8 fire near the community of Lakeside in San Diego County the afternoon of Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Despite the immediate lifesaving efforts of his captain, fellow crew members, EMS and hospital staff, Inmate Firefighter Anaya succumbed to his injuries this morning in an area hospital.

Inmate Firefighter Anaya made the ultimate sacrifice while helping protect the lives and property of Californians. Please join me in keeping his family, La Cima Crew 3, San Diego Unit staff and our California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation partners in your thoughts and prayers as they cope with this tragedy.

Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: (916) 445-4590
July 11, 2017

SAN DIEGO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today announced that an inmate firefighter has died as the result of injuries sustained while working on a fire line in
San Diego County.

The inmate firefighter, Frank Anaya, 22, was fighting a grass fire near the town of Lakeside on Tuesday, July 5, when his leg and femoral artery were severely cut. Firefighters at the scene immediately gave
Anaya advanced life support care and CPR until he was transported to a hospital, where he underwent multiple surgeries.

Anaya succumbed to his injuries at 4:30 a.m. this morning in an area hospital.

“We are saddened by the death of Frank Anaya, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and
friends,” said CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan. “Anaya provided an invaluable public service and helped protect our communities from devastating fires.”

Anaya, who was assigned to the La Cima Conservation Camp in San Diego County, was received by
CDCR from Ventura County in September, 2016. He was serving a three-year sentence.

He is the second inmate firefighter to die this year and the fifth since the conservation program was created in the 1940s.

Approximately 3,900 inmates, all volunteers, are housed in 43 conservation camps operated by CDCR, in conjunction with CAL FIRE, the State of California’s wildland fire-fighting agency, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Working in fire crews of 12 to 17 members, CDCR firefighters often work in rugged backcountry conditions, using hand tools to cut containment lines to stop the spread of wildland fires.

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Murrieta Fire Dispatch - June 29, 2017

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FIRE Weekly Legislative Report: Week Ending 06/30/2017

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Please enjoy this edition of the Murrieta Fire Dispatch (June 20, 2017)

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The City of Riverside Fire Department is announcing its recruitment for the position of Firefighter!

The City of Riverside Fire Department is a progressive, all-risk department responsible for the protection of a diverse population of over 300,000 people, covering nearly 82 square miles. Under the direction of Fire Chief Michael Moore, The City of Riverside Fire Department protects life, property, and the environment from 14 stations, responding to more than 34,000 calls for service. The department offers a variety of specialty programs, including Urban Search & Rescue, Hazardous Materials, and Arson.

Under the supervision of a Company Officer, Firefighters will perform a variety of duties in the protection of life and property by combating, extinguishing, and preventing fires, and by providing emergency medical care; to participate in training and fire prevention activities; to operate and maintain firefighting and rescue equipment, and fire stations; to serve as a fire inspector; and to do related work as required. Firefighters are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of apparatus, equipment, and fire stations. Firefighters will participate in a variety of training drills and evolutions with their individual companies, and with multiple companies as needed.

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Colleagues Light Candles for 'Sweet, Humble' LA Firefighter Who Died After Exercise Training Fall

Los Angeles city firefighters held an intimate candlelight vigil Monday in memory of the 29-year-old firefighter who died after a fall during a training exercise in downtown Los Angeles earlier this month.

Colleagues, family and loved ones of Kelly Wong remembered the two-year Los Angeles Fire Department veteran as a "man of limitless passion" as they lit candles during a solemn vigil at Fire Station 92 in Century City, where he was last stationed.

"Kelly put his life day in, day out, to serve his community," said Steve Stern of the LAFD. "In your time of need, he was the hero you wanted to show up on your doorstep."

Wong fell from an aerial ladder at about 10 a.m. Saturday, June 3, during the exercise in the 300 block of South Main Street in downtown Los Angeles. He was an "accomplished individual" who had just started a promising career with the department, the LAFD chief said. He was set for transfer to Station 9 in downtown Los Angeles this month.

Wong, survived by his wife and infant son, was rushed in critical condition to a hospital. He died Monday morning, June 5.

An American flag was unfurled from ladder trucks in front of the station on Pico Boulevard. Wong's family tearfully embraced his colleagues as they tolled a bell in his memory.

"Six-foot-three, 250 pounds, muscle cut lean, but he was so sweet, so humble, a beautiful person," LAFD Capt. Dave Gastelum recalled. "Never cocky. Never arrogant."

Wong graduated from the LAFD Recruit Academy on Terminal Island in August 2015. He was the top academic performer in his class.

"Kelly's dream since he was a little boy was to be a firefighter," LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said on the day of his death. "His mother, Ann, shared that story with me that Kelly liked to play with fire trucks growing up. He applied with several departments, but he wanted to work for the best. He wanted to work for the Los Angeles Fire Department. And he accomplished his goal."

Terrazas said Monday the department will be looking into its training procedures pending an in-depth report into Wong's death.

Wong's funeral is set for Friday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.

NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.

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Battalion Chiefs Begin Work for Hemet Fire Department

The Hemet Fire Department has added an extra layer of management with the hiring of three battalion chiefs. They began working Monday, June 5.

Overseeing daily operations will be Jamie Majchrzak, Kevin Kuhlman and Skip Irland.

Irland was promoted from in-house while Majchrzak comes from the Scottsdale (Arizona) Fire Department and Kuhlman from the Grand Junction (Colorado) Fire Department.

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Board approves 3-year, $595.38 million Cal Fire contract

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a $595.38 million contract with Cal Fire for firefighting and other services throughout the unincorporated areas of Riverside County and 21 cities over the next three years.

The board's 5-0 vote came just two weeks before the county's existing five-year contract with the state ended.

Under the new agreement, which expires July 1, 2020, the state will be paid $187.35 million for fire protection services in fiscal year 2017-18 -- about $20 million more than in 2016-17. Just over $199 million will be remitted in 2018-19, and $208.8 million in 2019-2020. However, according to Executive Office documents, costs will be split between the county and cities that contract with the county for emergency services.

The county's total outgo at the end of the three-year cycle will come to about $255.9 million, with cities picking up the balance.

The compact guarantees that the county will have just over 1,000 firefighters in service to handle wildland fires, medical response, air and ground rescues, hazardous materials containment, structural inspections and other public safety functions.

As contract terms with the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection were negotiated earlier this year, board Chairman John Tavaglione criticized the agency for not making concessions on various charges, noting that the county had the largest Cal Fire contract of any jurisdiction.

"The state should be looking at us as the `golden ticket,' Tavaglione said in April. "We expect the state to work with us.'

In addition to salary and benefits increases provided to Cal Fire crews by the Legislature and governor, the county was hit with an escalating annual administrative fee for the state to handle back office operations related to the contract.

The fee will be $20.9 million in the next fiscal year -- about 40 percent more than five years ago. In 2018-19, it will go up to $22.8 million, and in 2019-20, it will be $24 million.

The supervisors considered closing several fire houses and slashing about two-dozen positions to save money but ultimately decided on a more modest savings strategy that entailed cutting five jobs and modifying some operations, including dissolving one of two 24-hour hazmat units.

In the past, the board has informally discussed initiating a study to determine the advantages of establishing a stand-alone county fire department, but to date, no votes have been taken on the matter.
By: City News Service ?

by Jesus Reyes - CBS News

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June 15, Murrieta Fire Dispatch Newsletter

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Riverside County E-84 Accident Review

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May 17, 2017 Murrieta Fire Rescue Newsletter

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FIRE Weekly Legislative Report: Week Ending 05/5/2017

From: Russell Noack, Public Policy Advocates

The following bills of interest to the California Fire Chiefs Association and the Fire Districts Association of California were considered this week:

AB 190 (Steinorth): Would require a lead agency to approve or disapprove a design review of a development project within a 30-day period or the project would be deemed approved on the 31st day. This bill was scheduled to be heard this week by the Assembly Local Government Committee, but the author removed the bill from the hearing calendar. FIRE Position: OPPOSE

AB 211 (Bigelow): Would update SRA fire prevention fee reporting to the Legislature. The bill has been placed on the Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense File. FIRE Position: SUPPORT

AB 220 (Ridley-Thomas): Would expand the definition of state of emergency to include acute homelessness. The bill is now a two-year bill and will not be taken up again this year. FIRE Position: WATCH

AB 238 (Steinorth): Would prohibit a cannabis licensee from manufacturing marijuana using volatile solvents in a residential structure. The bill passed the Assembly Business & Professions Committee this week and will be heard by the Assembly Health Committee next week. FIRE Position: WATCH

AB 565 (Bloom): Would allow a city or county to adopt alternative building regulations covering conversions of commercial or industrial buildings into joint living and workspace. The bill was approved by the Assembly and has been to the Senate. FIRE Position: OPPOSE

AB 886 (Bloom): Would require registration of illegal buildings by owners and would restrict evictions of tenants during renovations under prescribed circumstances. This bill failed to move out of the Assembly Local Government Committee and will not be considered again this year. FIRE Position: OPPOSE

AB 1283 (Rodriguez): Would provide for fire departments with volunteer firefighters that receive federal reimbursement for costs associated with firefighting to pass through a portion of the amount that would otherwise be required to hire an employee for those services. Clarifying amendments were added and the bill passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee. FIRE Position: WATCH

ACR 87 (Rodriguez): Would declare the week of May 21, 2017 – May 27, 2017, to be Emergency Medical Services Week. This resolution was introduced this week. FIRE Position: SUPPORT

SB 229 (Wieckowski): Would authorize the expansion of maximum foot areas in ordinances which already authorize accessory dwelling units within its planning and zoning law. The bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. FIRE Position: OPPOSE

SB 496 (Cannella) [Chapter 8, Statutes of 2017]: This bill was part of the package of measures negotiated between the Governor and Legislative Leadership to secure passage of SB 1 (Beall) [Chapter 5, Statutes of 2017], the transportation/fuel tax bill. SB 496 limits the use of indemnity clauses in public agency agreements covering design professional services. As expected, Governor Brown signed the measure. FIRE Position: OPPOSE

Note: This week Assembly Member Travis Allen filed initiative paperwork with the Office of the Attorney General to repeal the recently signed SB 1 (Beall). The initiative will be issued a Title and Summary and then sent out for circulation to gather signatures; approximately 365,880 signatures will be required to qualify for the ballot.

SB 718 (Anderson): Would have expanded civil liability and civil forfeiture over persons aiding others in committing an act of terrorism. The bill has been held in Senate Judiciary Committee and will not be acted upon again this year.

2017 Assembly & Senate Legislative Calendar

Thank you,
California Fire Chiefs Association

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Department Highlight - Cathedral City

Annual Report

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CANYON LAKE, CA — The city of Canyon Lake's lone fire station is slated to reopen under an agreement approved Tuesday by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. In a 4-0 vote, the board signed off on a $1.43 million contract to restart on-site emergency services in the gated municipality, though with reduced staffing, through July 1, 2018.

"We have a very bad situation in Canyon Lake," said Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, whose First District encompasses the city of 11,000."This is not a great idea, but it's a first step."

The compact stipulates that the city's Vacation Drive firehouse will have a two-person squad available 24/7. The board-mandated staffing level for any Riverside County fire engine is three personnel, one of whom functions as a firefighter-paramedic.

Jeffries, a former fireman, worked out a compromise just to get the fire station re-activated.

"We need to do this. It's a step in the right direction," the supervisor said. "It will lead us to a longer-term resolution that needs to occur."

The agreement, which the city is slated to approve next week, calls for a return to three-person staffing in Canyon Lake by July 2018. If the city does not accept the county's terms, however, the fire services contract likely will not be extended.

Canyon Lake City Councilman Larry Green repeated the city's complaint in 2015, telling the board that having a fully staffed fire station was "unsustainable" due to the costs incurred.

"We have to look at new development and a new development plan," Green said, suggesting the city may yet form an independent fire agency.

Green acknowledged that the arrangement in place for the last roughly two years has not been"positive," with county fire crews from Menifee and Lake Elsinore responding to Canyon Lake under a mutual aid compact, with response times running "10, 12, or 15 minutes."

Canyon Lake shuttered its county-operated firehouse on July 1, 2015, after the municipality and county became steeped in legal wrangling over nearly $2 million in unpaid fire services bills, which the city blamed on increased firefighter staffing that it did not want and warned the county it wouldn't be able to afford. City officials said budgetary reserves were depleted paying for county public safety services.

In a 57-page breach of contract lawsuit, the county alleged that, beginning in the last half of the 2013-14 fiscal year, Canyon Lake stopped making payments under the fire protection contract that went into effect on July 1, 2011, and ended on July 1, 2015.

The suit was resolved in the fall of 2015 when Canyon Lake agreed to reimburse the county $1.7 million.
By Patch CA (Patch Staff) - May 9, 2017 11:44 pm ET

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2017 Riverside County Operational Area (XRI) Fire & Rescue Coordianation Meeting

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Governor Brown Issues Proclamation Declaring Wildfire Awareness Week

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County Fire Chiefs Honor Hawkins at Board of Supervisors Meeting

Riverside County/Cal Fire Chief John Hawkins was honored on April 11, 2017 for his four years of service as President of the Riverside County Fire Chief’s Association (RCFCA). Fire Chiefs from Riverside City (Michael Moore), Idyllwild (Patrick Reitz), Cathedral City (Paul Wilson), Pechanga (Jason Keeling), Corona (David Duffy), and Murrieta (Scott Ferguson) were in attendance to show their respect.

“I was very honored to be recognized by the RCFCA before the Board of Supervisors for serving four years as the President of the RCFCA. Never, did I ever expect such a wonderful recognition. I was just plain honored to serve the RCFCA. Riverside County is a wonderful place to work. Even as tough as all the challenges we face, we still are always honored to provide our constituencies the public safety protection service that they deserve and expect. We live to serve." - Chief John Hawkins

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Robert Baird Named Regional Director of Fire

SAN BERNARDINO, California, April 10, 2017, The U.S. Forest Service has named Robert Baird as the Regional Director of Fire and Aviation Management for the Pacific Southwest Region. Baird currently serves as forest supervisor on Los Padres National Forest where he oversees ecosystem management, land use and wildfire management for more than 1.9 million acres in central California. He has held that position for three fire seasons.

Baird’s prior experience includes a stint as Deputy National Fire Director in the Washington Office and in a detail as the acting Associate Deputy Director of CAL FIRE, where he fostered partnership and cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service in California. In his assignments, Baird demonstrated successful leadership by overseeing operations at the National Interagency Fire Center, leading in the transition to next-generation air tankers, and supervising Los Padres during the complex and challenging fire season of 2016.

“I'm very pleased to welcome Bob Baird as our Regional Director for Fire and Aviation Management,” said Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore. “Bob has demonstrated expertise in managing large, complex organizations and he has developed innovative strategies to build partnerships and coalitions. Bob’s leadership background and experience are a perfect fit for this key position. We look forward to a challenging but successful fire season with Bob at the helm.”

“I couldn't be more proud of this opportunity,” Baird said. “I've had the great pleasure of serving both at the forest level and at the Washington office level, and this regional position will tie those experiences together. I think the opportunity to serve in both CAL FIRE and with the Forest Service has given me a broad perspective on fire in this region, and I look forward to taking on the challenges with the support of the best firefighters in the world.”

Baird is a Riverside, Calif., native and a military veteran with more than 24 years as a U.S. Marine, both as an enlisted member and then as an infantry officer, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Baird was decorated multiple times, including the Bronze Star, and served two combat tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Baird is expected to report to his new position May 15.

About the U.S. Forest Service:
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

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Please click on the link below to review this edition of Murrieta Fire & Rescue's weekly newsletter.

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Teacher, 8-year-old student dead after gunman opens fire at San Bernardino elementary school

A teacher and an eight-year-old student were shot and killed Monday morning at an elementary school in San Bernardino after the teacher’s husband opened fire inside a special needs classroom before turning the gun on himself.

Cedric Anderson, 53, entered a classroom at North Park Elementary School and opened fire on his wife, Karen Eliane Smith, around 10:30 a.m. before taking his own life, according to San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan.

Two students standing behind Smith were also shot, police said. An eight-year-old boy, identified as Jonathan Martinez, was airlifted to Loma Linda Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead hours later. A 9-year-old student who was wounded remains hospitalized in stable condition, Burguan said.
The shooting occurred in a special education classroom for students with intellectual disabilities, said San Bernardino Unified School District spokeswoman Maria Garcia. There were 15 students from the first through fourth grades in the room, and two adult aides, Burguan said.

The chief said the couple had only been married for a few months, and he described them as “estranged.”
The gunfire was reported at 10:27 a.m. in a classroom at North Park Elementary School, 5378 N. H Street. San Bernardino Police Capt. Ron Maass said the shooter checked in with school officials before visiting the teacher’s classroom, but no one saw the handgun he was carrying until he opened fire.

The gunman then opened fire on the teacher. Two students near the teacher were hit by gunfire, he said. It is unclear how many shots were fired.

“The children, we do not believe were targeted,” he said. Jaidyn Stanley, 9, said he was in a different classroom when the shooting happened.

“I was in my class and my teacher was teaching us a lesson, and then I heard three gun shots. My teacher told us to get on the ground. Then we started hearing sirens,” the third-grader said.

Jaidyn said after staying low to the ground for about 30 seconds, his teacher told the class to get up, run and follow her out of an emergency exit that connects directly to the outdoors. He and his classmates left their backpacks behind.

“There was a lot of people in my class crying and they were scared. They thought the shooter was going to come in the classroom,” Jaidyn said.

Jaidyn said once he and his classmates were outside on a soccer field, they were planning to walk to Cajon High School, but he spotted his mother and she scooped him up and took him home.

North Park Elementary is a magnet school for students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade who are interested in environmental issues, according to Garcia. Students take field trips to outdoor areas and do school work "with an emphasis on science activities that nurture creative expression.

Armed security officers are not assigned to district elementary schools, according to Garcia, but security remains “very, very tight” on campus.

"Once the school bell rings, the only way in to the campus is through the front office," she said.

All district schools maintain ledgers for parents, volunteers and district staff, she said, and everyone is required to show a photo ID and sign in at the front office. The gunman, she said, " followed the check-in protocol.”

Last summer, the school's leadership went through so-called "threat assessment training," including the possibility of a shooting near the school or within the building, Garcia said. The school's teachers followed their training, she said, and had "the majority of the students outside of harm’s way within minutes," on a grassy area outside the buildings.

The school will remain closed Tuesday and Wednesday, but may temporarily reopen in an alternate location, in part because the building may still be an active crime scene, Garcia said.

“We want to minimize the trauma that that not just our students, but our staff, have been exposed to," Garcia said.

Immediately after the shooting, the San Bernardino County Fire Department set up a triage area.

School officials said the shooting was “isolated to the campus.” In an email to staff, the school district said: “This is believed to be a case of domestic violence.”

Students were evacuated to Cal State San Bernardino’s physical education building, where they could access bathrooms and water, said university spokesman Joe Gutierrez. San Bernardino Police also tweeted images of children being given glowsticks and other toys throughout the day, and some parents said their children were allowed to watch movies while they waited to be released.

Parents were directed to Cajon High School, where officials verified their identities before sending them to Cal State San Bernardino to pick up their children, Gutierrez said.

North Park Elementary has more than 500 students between kindergarten and sixth grade, mostly from low-income Latino families.

Students were huddled on a field at a corner of the school’s campus on Northpark Boulevard and H Street, accompanied by teachers and guarded by law enforcement officers carrying long guns.

Anxious parents such as David Zamudio gathered nearby, but barriers blocked them from reaching their children. Some parents said there was confusion over where to collect their children as information circulated that they should be picked up at either Cajon High School or Cal State San Bernardino.

Zamudio, the father of a 6-year-old in second grade at North Park, said he lives nearby and heard helicopters overhead. He rushed to the school when his sister called saying there had been a school shooting.

“I came because they said it was safer, more isolated. But I guess it’s not that way,” said Zamudio, who recently moved to the area from Highland.

In a statement on Twitter, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said: “ My heart and prayers go out to the victims of today's horrible act in #SanBernardino & to the whole North Park Elem. School community.”

According to the state’s new school rating system, North Park earns high marks for suspending less than 1% of its student body. The school was deemed yellow — average on the state’s color-coded grading scheme — for academics. In both math and English, students scored below the bar for proficiency, but in math, their scores grew significantly over the course of one year.

The school will be closed for the next two days as detectives continue their investigation, said district Supt. Dale Marsden.

“This is an absolute tragic event,” he said. “Our hearts are broken.”

The shooting comes as San Bernardino has seen a major increase in violence.

There were 62 slayings in San Bernardino in 2016 — a 41% increase from the year before. It was the deadliest year in the city since 1995.

The violence is an open wound on a city trying to recover from a prolonged bankruptcy and the 2015 terror attack.

On Monday, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands) issued a statement in response to the shooting, saying he was “devastated” and that “this is like a punch to the gut of our community.”

"We will learn more in the coming hours and days about how today’s events came to pass,” Aguilar said. “But there are some things that we know now: This is a tragedy for our community and there are children, teachers, staff and families who will be dealing with what happened today for a long time. As we have done before, we need to come together to support those affected and rededicate ourselves to ending gun violence in our community.”

LA Times • By Veronica Rocha , Richard Winton and Paloma Esquivel • Contact Reporters - April 10, 2017, 3:50 p.m.

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The Fire Service Mourns the Passing of Ray Picard

We regret to pass on this sad news from the CPSE/CFAI. Earlier this week, the fire and emergency service and the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) lost a pioneering leader and champion. The Board of Directors, Commissioners, and Staff of CPSE are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear colleague and friend, Chief Raymond C. Picard. Picard’s career in, passion for, and influence on the fire service spanned more than five decades.

Picard was appointed Fire Chief for the City of Huntington Beach in September 1967 and served as Fire Chief until December 1990. During that time the city experienced tremendous growth, going from a population of 11,500 in 1960 to 181,500 in 1990. Along with this population and housing explosion came the need for expansion of the City’s fire services and development of its emergency services capabilities. In the late 1960s, the fire prevention inspection program was initiated. Under the direction of Picard, the department installed a new CAD system, which, at the time, was one of the first such systems in the country. Picard was also instrumental in the development of the automatic aid system and in 1990 implemented the FireMed membership program.

Following his retirement from Huntington Beach, Picard became a founding contributor to what would one day become CPSE. Starting in the late 1980s, as a member of the Accreditation Task Force of the International Association of Fire Chiefs,

Picard helped mold the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) Accreditation Model. His contributions to the Fire and Emergency Service Self-Assessment Manual (FESSAM) would span eight editions of the FESSAM and thirty years. In recognition of the vital role Picard played, not only in the forming of CPSE but its continued operation, CPSE established an award in his name.
The annual Ray Picard award was first presented in 2001 and recognizes individual superior leadership and outstanding contribution to CFAI and the accreditation of fire departments. The award bears the name of one of the most regarded and beloved Fire Chiefs and is designed to recognize the individual(s) who exemplify the ability, character, dedication, and leadership attributes exemplified by Chief Raymond C. Picard.

In addition to his leadership in Huntington Beach, Chief Picard served as a member of the California State Board of Fire Services for ten years, a member of the Public Safety Steering Committee of the National League of Cities, and President of the Fire Chief Section of the California League of Cities. He also edited and contributed articles to the Managing Fire Services manual published by the International City/County Management Association. In 1975, Picard contributed to “A Guide for Planning and Selecting the Site for the National Academy for Fire Prevention and Control”.
He was a graduate of Pasadena City College and the University of Southern California and taught extensively throughout the United States. He also lectured in Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, China, Japan, and Korea. Chief Picard is survived by his wife Donna and numerous loving friends and family members.

Reflecting on Chief Picard upon his passing, CPSE Board President and Fire Chief Anaheim Fire Rescue, Randy Bruegman, CFO, shared,

“When I went to my very first meeting on the development of the Fire Service Accreditation Model, I met Ray Picard. It didn’t take long for me to realize what a visionary person he was. He was truly a Chief that was 30 years ahead of his time. His ability to dissect a complex issue, map it out on the white board, and at the same time, be looking down the road 15 years was part of his legend. His influence on the Accreditation Model and how we do our business today is his legacy that will live on in the fire service for generations to come. The CPSE aptly named an award after Chief Picard that is presented annually to the individual that has demonstrated a similar passion and commitment to improve the fire service through the use of the accreditation process. So, for all of the past and future Ray Picard award winners, it is our duty to continue to carry on Chief Picard’s vision! Rest in peace my dear friend, Chief B.”

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Kim Summers, a former high-ranking Hesperia official who has served as assistant city manager in Murrieta since 2014, will take over the city's top job on July 1.

The Murrieta City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday, April 4, to appoint Summers, a 52-year-old Downey native, as City Manager. She will be succeeding Rick Dudley, who is retiring on June 30 after serving almost 10 years as manager in the city.

Summers said Wednesday the job is the culmination of a career goal she set for herself while working in Hesperia, where she started in 1999 as a public information officer.

"I realized I kinda like being where the decisions are being made," said Summers, who rose to the rank of assistant to the city manager and deputy city manager in Hesperia. She secured a masters degree in public administration from Cal State Long Beach during her time in that city.

During her time here, she has worked with the other city managers and high-ranking officials in the region, who gather periodically to discuss regional issues.

These relationships, she said, should help her hit the ground running when she takes over later this year.

"They've been wonderful," she said, talking about the other city managers in the region. "When Rick started talking about his retirement, they reached out to say 'We're here, just let us know what you need.'"

Mayor Rick Gibbs said Summers will be handed more and more responsibility these next couple of months and she'll be doing a lot more of the work of the city manager right now.

"By the time (Dudley) walks out the door she will be fully up to speed on all the issues that currently exist," he said.

Some cities conduct national searches for city manager candidates -- a process that can cost tens of thousands of dollars -- but Murrieta went with an internal candidate, Gibbs said, because it had someone in Summers who has already shown she can execute her responsibilities in a "phenomenally successful way."

He said another argument in her favor is her relationship with staff, which, he said, both respects and trusts her.

"The city employees who were in the audience they all applauded. I would take that to mean there is a general satisfaction among the employee ranks," he said.


Published: April 5, 2017 1:24 p.m.

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RCFCA Launches Its New Website

Testing the new website

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