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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

CAL FIRE NEWS: CZU Unit Names New Chiefs

New Cal Fire chiefs named for Santa Cruz/Santa Clara counties

Scotty Jalbert and Ian Larkin are the center of attention on Monday... (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

FELTON -- In a room full of Cal Fire officials Monday, only two sported tiny holes on their white uniforms where their badges should have been.

Surrounded by family and colleagues, Scott Jalbert and Ian Larkin received new titles and badges in a pinning ceremony at Cal Fire's Felton headquarters,
As unit chief, Jalbert will oversee Cal Fire operations for Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties.
Larkin, formerly a division chief, will take Jalbert's old position as deputy chief of the unit.
"It's a changing of the guard, a changing of leadership in the department," said Northern California Region Chief Bill Holmes, who led the ceremony. "The responsibilities for Ian and Scotty are tremendous."
As first and second in command, Jalbert and Larkin will oversee a unit that provides emergency services for about 1 million residents of Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, protects 415,000 acres of natural resources and responds to emergencies from wildfires to earthquakes.
"Scotty, you fall in a long line of very distinguished unit chiefs," he told Jalbert, who will take the place of retired Chief John Ferreira.
Jalbert, 44, was born in Redwood City, and has been involved in fire fighting and emergency response since he joined the a Fire Explorers program at age 14. He said his fascination has shifted from fighting fire to dealing with the politics of running a department.
After the swearing in, he posed for pictures with his 2-year-old daughter while his twins, 6 weeks old to the day, snoozed blissfully in the back of the room with his wife, Darla. Jalbert said taking care of twin newborns is even more demanding than a career fighting fire.

"Sleep is a commodity," he said.
Deputy Chief Larkin, 45, a Watsonville native now living in Scotts Valley, began his career as a volunteer firefighter in 1988. He was surrounded by family at the event: his daughters, aged 12 and 15, pinned on his badge, while his wife, parents and in-laws sat in the crowd.
Larkin thanked them for their support: "They're the ones that make the sacrifices that allow us to do what we love to do."
Jalbert said he is optimistic for the year ahead, and confident that Larkin will step up to the challenges of his old position.
"Ian's gonna do just fine," he said. "We're just lucky to have him."
Jalbert pointed out that he and Larkin had worked together as chiefs of the San Mateo/Santa Cruz training battalion from 2004 to 2007. "Who would have thought that the ex-training guys are running the unit?" he said.

Editors Note: Outgoing Chief John Ferreira Will Be Missed, From Funny Jokes to Serious Incident Decisions He Is A Man Above His Peers. - Bob O

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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