|I was born June 21, 1944,
and raised in the Hood River Valley of Oregon. I had my
first encounter with structure fires at the age of 8. My
older brother and I were walking by the volunteer fire
station at Odell when we noticed smoke coming from under
the door. With the station on fire there was no way to
alert the volunteers. The station and equipment were destroyed.
At the time my father was a volunteer for the department.
He went on to serve as a volunteer for more than 50 years.
He is still an honorary member.
After graduating from high school I joined the
Navy and had a week of firefighter school during boot camp. When
I was first discharged I held several jobs in and around Hood
River, running the gamete from working in the fruit industry,
to working for an auto dealership.
I married my first wife in 1966 and moved up the Columbia River
to The Dalles. I worked at an auto parts store and was laid off
from that job in April of 1968. I started hanging out at the
concrete plant were my wife worked and that developed into part
time work driving trucks. In 1976 a good friend working for The
Dalles Fire Department told me about a summer job the department
had. The Dalles Fire Department’s area covered 144 square
miles outside the city for fire, and about 800 square miles in
Oregon & Washington for ambulance
service. I was hired in June of 1968 and in October of '68 a permanent position
became available. I tested and was hired as a full time firefighter. Prior
to this happening, the goal of being a firefighter had never crossed my mind.
At the time I started my career in the fire service,
an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certificate was unheard
of. A basic first aid card was all that was required to work
on an ambulance. It wasn't until 1971 that the full staff of
The Dalles Fire Department became EMTs. In 1975 two members of
the department, plus me, became EMT IIs. Ironically, at that
time the doctors in the area did not trust our ability to start
life saving IVs while transporting emergency patients to the
hospital. This reluctance made the job of treating emergency
patients much more difficult. It took several years for the doctors
to develop confidence in the EMT’s abilities allowing for us to treat patiences
In 1975 and 1976 Lt. Dan Burke and I taught two
EMT class's for volunteers throughout the Wasco County area.
In February of 1977 the city of The Dalles instituted a program
of cross-training three firefighters as police officers and three
police officers as firefighters. Because I was low on the seniority
list, I was one of those assigned to the training. I quickly
learned that I didn't have the right mental attitude for police
work. I was soon laid off. Two weeks later the police and firefighter
unions filed an injunction against the city because of the dual training
practice. The judge ruled in favor of the unions and the program was stopped.
The city did not refill my position nor that of another individual who
refused the police training. I was out of the fire service for the timing
At this point I purchased a truck and trailer
and started hauling new camping trailers throughout the Pacific
Northwest and Western Canada. In October of that same year a
lieutenant for the department had a heart attack and had to retire.
Because I had the most seniority of those available, I was rehired.
In November 1977 the rural part of the department split away
from the city section. I was hired as a shift captain by Wasco
Rural Fire Protection District. We ran a rescue unit but not
Throughout my early years in the business, I was
involved in several major wildland fires in and around our district.
I also worked a number of major structure fires. I had just worked
three shifts when my first major fire, an abandoned sawmill,
pretty much burned to the ground in the middle of the night.
It was definitely an initiation into the rigors of fire fighting
and the need for good equipment and well trained personnel. We
had the personnel but not the best equipment for the job.
In early 1978, I purchased a small tractor and
mower and contracted with the city of The Dalles, on my days
off, to do hazardous weed abated around structures and vacant
properties. The term "Defensible Space", hadn't been applied
to this type of fuels reduction work, but I saw a need and began a side-business
helping people develop more fire safe homes and property.
Career at Black Butte Ranch Begins
In August of 1979, Dan Burke was hired as Fire Chief for Black
Butte Ranch, replacing Gary Higgins. Les Brannon was the only
other paid firefighter staff at the time. There were a few
homeowners that volunteered during the day and some of the
Ranch employees were utilized for wild land fires. Some of
these same owners and employees were also EMT's or First Responders.
At this time, members of the fire department were employed
by Brooks Resources.
In October, another good friend and fire fighter
from The Dalles, Gerald "Corky" Webb,
was hired by Chief Burke. My first exposure to Black Butte Ranch came when
I helped Corky move to the Ranch. In December, Chief Burke, called and asked
if I would be interest in moving to Black Butte Ranch and becoming his assistant
chief. I started January 1, 1980 as the fourth member of the department. My
hiring meant that Black Butte Ranch finally had EMT's on duty 24 hours a day.
The fire station was in what is now the administration
office, with livingquarters upstairs. When Chief Burke arrived,
the equipment consisted of a housekeeping van that had been converted
to an ambulance. One 1971 GMC 4x4 for wildland fires (which had
been built by the mechanic for The Dalles Fire Department), a
1976 GMC 4x4 also for wild fires and a 1944 Mercury fire engine,
(that date is not a misprint either). There was onr other structure
fire engine. This equipment along with the chief s office, the
Police services office, and the ranch laundry, were all housed
in this one building.
By the time I arrived, Chief Burke had convinced
Brookes Resources to purchase some equipment, an ambulance
from the Redmond Fire Department (a used "Crown" fire
engine from the city of Las Angles) and a new Ford “brush
truck” for the
chief’s use. The old ambulance and the Mercury were both
phased out of service in the spring of 1980.
All four of the paid staff lived on the Ranch
in homes rented by the fire department. With the exception of
the Chief, we worked shifts of 24 hours on duty and 48 hours
off. The first 24 hours of the 48 a person was off duty, they
were still "on call".
This meant that on-call staff drove a 4x4 home and stayed within
a certain area around the Ranch to respond to any emergency.
The volunteer base was extremely small and we only had a couple
of volunteers that were young enough to handle the rigors of
firefighting. The older residents of the Ranch were a great help
in areas that didn't call for strenuous work, such as assisting
on the ambulance. The department took on its first "sleeper" in
early 1981. This is a volunteer that lives at the station and
in return is available to respond to emergencies that may arise
when they are there. Our first "sleeper" was Rob Cravens,
an employee at the Glaze Meadow golf course. Rob is now a Lieutenant
for the Bend Fire Dept.
Fire District Formed
In November of 1980 the Fire District was formed
and a tax base was established by a vote of the registered voters
of Black Butte Ranch. Both measures were effective July 1, 1981.
The tax was used to buy the equipment from Brooks Resources.
It also paid the salaries of the four employees of the fire
department plus the salaries of the Police Services employees.
The District passed a bond measure to build a new fire station
in 1981. This is now the entrance building and Police Services.
Although this was not the best place for a station, there
was no choice: it was the only property that Brooks Resources
would donate to the district.
Chief Burke and I both took the EMT III class that was offered
in 1980-81 and became the only Advanced Life Support personnel
west of Bend and Redmond. I coordinated and taught, with Chief
Burke's assistance, an EMT I class in 1982 and also 1983. Both
of these classes had the highest pass rate of any classes taught
in the state in those years. My efforts earned me the Instructor/Coordinator
of the Year Award, presented by the Oregon State EMT Association.
In late 1980 Corky Webb returned to The Dalles and Ken Enoch
was hired as his replacement. Ken later was hired as a Paramedic/Fire
Fighter for Sister/Camp Sherman RFPD. In 1981 Les Brannon also
left for other employment and Gordon Rowat was hired as his replacement.
Gordon retired from the district in early 2005. Both Ken and
Gordon took the next EMT III class that was offered. When they
finished and were certified, the district was able to offer Advanced
Life Support 24 hours, 7 days a week. At that time, there were
very few medium size departments that could make this claim and
Black Butte Ranch RFPD was the smallest fire district in the
Becoming Fire Chief
Chief Dan Burke tested and was hired as chief of the Estacada
Fire Deptment in November of 1983. Prior to Chief Burke leaving,
he had asked me what my goals would be for the district if I
were to become chief. My answer: eliminate the use of shake roofs,
get rid of ladder fuels, thin the trees.
I was in New York for Thanksgiving and was aware
that Dan had tested but didn't know if he had heen accepted for
the job. I called the station from New York to see what was happening.
He gave me the news and recommended that I call Carl Burnham,
Fire Board chairman. I contacted Carl prior to heading home.
He asked if I would like to be Chief Burke's replacement and
I could give him the answer when I got back home. I accepted
the job 4 days later.
My first task was to fill my previous position.
Curtiss Bean, a paramedic and fire fighter from Springfield,
Oregon was hired. He was the first EMT IV (paramedic) hired by
the district. He worked about nine months and returned to Springfield;
the action at the Ranch was just to slow for him. Rob Clark was
the next paramedic hired and he was also a good mechanic. Rob
worked several years with the department, and decided to go on
to other things. The last time I heard from him (summer of 2005)
he was leaving the Oregon coast aboard his 28 foot sail boat,
to sail around the world.
My biggest worry in taking the chief’s job was the budget.
I had no back ground in budgeting and the state forms were mind
boggling. I have to thank Jack Wilson, who was a resident and
member of the fire board, for the time he spent with me getting
me past this hurdle. All of the board members that served over
the years deserve a lot of credit for getting the fire district
to were it is today. I can't name them all, but the ones that
really standout, in no particular order, are, Jack Wilson, Jack
Morton, Jack Barringer, Carl Bumham, Karl Schulka, Bill Burkart,
Bob Muierhead, Dan Nordhill, George Blake, Frank Reynolds, and
Building the Professional Staff
In 1984 I revitalized our sleeper program to help supplement
our volunteers. Initially we had two sleepers that moved into
the station. Our volunteer staff prior to that point consisted
of six or seven people under the age of 45 and I felt comfortable
using them on structure and wildland fires.
It was in this era, after talking to our new attorney, that
I advised the board, it was probably illegal for the District
to have employees that carried guns; in other words, police services
members. After the board consulted with the attorney, it was
decided that Police Services could not be a part of the Fire
In 1985 our call rate was increasing. The staff
was also earning more vacation time, creating a lack of coverage.
There was a need for more in depth training, and the chief's
job was becoming more demanding and complex. With that in mind
I made a proposal to the Fire Board to hire an Asst. Chief/Training
Officer. They accepted that proposal and we soon had five people
on the staff. Our first Asst. Chief/Training Officer was Gerald "Corky" Webb.
One of the things I tried to accomplish when hiring personnel
was finding people who had backgrounds that would make my job
easier and people with skills that would benefit the district
as a whole. As a Fire District, we had to follow State statutes
and laws in everything we did, from hiring, to budgeting, to
following open meeting laws. We employed a law firm who specialized
in guiding small districts to make sure we were always in compliance.
The fire boards that I worked for all had one
firm belief, and that was everyone should be encouraged to attend
training classes that would better the person, and improve the
district. Almost all requests to attend outside classes were
honored. One such request was made by Ken Enoch, and Asst. Chief
Webb. They had read articles on PPV (Positive Pressure Ventilation)
and the inventor of this technique was giving a class in Portland.
This is a technique that requires blowing large volumes of air
into a building that's on fire. In the fire service we’d been
taught that removing air was one way to suppress a fire and allowing
air into a fire, would just fan the flames.
The two staff members attended the session, and
upon returning explained what they had learned to me and the
Fire Board. By pressurizing a building with high volume fans
and then venting the room were the fire is located the fan pressure
forces the smoke and hot gases out of the vent. This allows firefighters
to enter the building with less smoke and heat, improving their
ability to work. Black Butte Ranch RFPD was the first department
in Central Oregon to adopt this procedure, saving the health
of personnel and improving their overall ability to fight fire.
This process is now adopted throughout Central Oregon.
Creating a Plan for Fire Safety at the Ranch
In 1986, Asst. Chief Webb attended a class that
dealt with fuel hazards in the wildland urban interface. With
the information he gained, he set up a program that gave us a
plan to inspect every property on the Ranch. Fire staff judged
how each property would be affected by a wildfire. This plan
also gave us a tool to gauge the hazards on the Ranch as a whole.
We were able to assign categories, from low hazard to extreme
hazard, for the whole Ranch. With the information we put together,
we started the long and slow process of educating the homeowners
and Architectural Review Community on the need to reduce
dry ground fuels, ladder fuels and thin the trees, especially
Another thing that created an extreme hazard for
homes was the required wood shake or shingle roof. With approval
of the Fire Board, I went to an ARC meeting in the spring of
1988, and explained that the shake roof requirement was probably
a personal liability for ARC members. They were aware that
shake roofs were an extreme fire hazard but continued to require
them on homes that were in a high fire hazard area. I also
explained that state law allowed the district to pass ordinances.
The district felt that this was such an urgent matter, if they
were unwilling to change their requirements, we would change
them by ordinance. That fall the ARC made the necessary changes
to require all new construction and re-roofing, to use fire
resistance materials. Unfortunately, it will be years before
all of those combustible roofs are eliminated.
In the beginning, there were very few homeowners
who wanted anything done that would change the Ranch, even though
they were aware of the fire hazard. The fire board, by ordinance,
adopted the Uniform Fire Code in 1988. With that adoption,
a five year program, based on fire hazard, was set up to
inspect the Ranch. Notices were sent to homeowners detailing
what they needed to do to bring their property into compliance
with the Code. After that I was deputized by the Deschutes County
Sheriff to cite homeowners for violation of the Uniform Fire
Code. I did site a few people into court, but before the court
date arrived, everyone I cited called and made arrangements to
get their property cleaned to our specifications. With several
major fires in Central Oregon in the early `90s, that destroyed
homes, we were able to convince the fire board to pursue
the fuels reduction program more aggressively. This process is
still underway. It is the norm now rather than the exception.
Developing the Student Program
As the training officer, AC Webb was involved
with Central Oregon Community College in setting up a two year
curriculum for an Associates Degree in firefighting. The curriculum
included the EMT I program which normally took about nine months
to finish. Once the degree program was set up, Black Butte Ranch
RFPD established a scholarship system for high school graduates
that wanted to pursue a career in the fire service. Basically,
we paid for their tuition and books and gave them a stipend
to live on. In return, they lived at the fire station pulling
a shift along with the career firefighters. This augmented
our ability to respond with a larger crew. I don't mean to
take anything away from the dedication of volunteers and sleepers.
We would never have done as well without them. But, the students
wanted to be firefighters and EMT's. They were totally dedicated
to the job.
The first year, 1987, we had two students in the program, Jeff
Blake and Mike Towner. The second year, one of our sleepers,
Dan Tucker, joined the program. He was hired by the District
when he finished his schooling. From the third year on we had
three people in the program. Once we had three students, we could
normally respond to a call with a minimum of three people. As
an example of the dedication of the students, if they were in
the building they wanted to respond.
Jeff Blake and Mike Towner are both in the fire service, Jeff
is in Bend and Mike is with Tualatin Fire and Rescue. Dan Tucker
was hired and is still employed as a Captain for Black Butte
Ranch RFPD. AC Webb went on to become the Fire Chief at Molalla,
Oregon, and a few years after working there became the Fire Chief
in Redmond, Oregon. He was replaced by John Fowler. John later
went on to become Fire Chief at Sheraton, Oregon, and then Chief
at another department in Washington, and now the Fire Chief at
Pendleton, Oregon. Another of our employees, Paul Olheiser, became
Fire Chief at a small department, Napa, Swenson, Burnside RFPD,
The scholarship program has since been endorsed
and accepted by all of the departments in Central Oregon. There
are a couple of dozen positions available each year and it's
a very competitive process to get a scholarship with one of the
departments. Since I retired, it's been upgraded to a three year
program, and after graduating a student has an AS Degree in Firefighting
and is a certified paramedic.
In the late 80's we had a near drowning accident
of a lifeguard at the Glaze Meadow swimming pool. It involved
the lifeguard getting his arm stuck in a pipe at the bottom of
the pool. Asst. Chief/Training Officer John Fowler and I were
both on the Ranch and responded from home. Before we got there,
attempts had been made to free the stuck lifeguard by other lifeguards,
all were unsuccessful. John arrived just before me and did
manage to free the victim from the bottom. I arrived as the
victim was moved to the edge of the pool. John and I started
CPR, as the ambulance was arriving. With the help of Capt.
Rowat and his crew we were successful with the CPR. Airlife
had been called and a landing zone was set up on the dike by
the lakes at Glaze Meadow. The victim was unconscious when
handed off to Airlife, but with their care and treatment at
the hospital he made a full recovery.
I made a call to the producers of the television
show Rescue 911. They liked the idea. The show’s entire came up to
the Ranch for filming It was an exciting experience for all as
we re-enacted the incident. The program was soon shown on national
TV. About five years after the first airing I received an envelope
from Central Point, Oregon. Inside was an envelope with a letter
from a lady in South Africa. It was addressed to Chief Churchill,
Central Oregon USA, and it took a total of 14 days to reach me.
She was a fan of the show and wanted information on the department.
The Big Yellow Engine
In 1988 we purchased a new yellow fire engine,
made by Grumman, the airplane builder. Steve Scott, a volunteer,
and I flew to Washington DC to pick it up at the factory in Roanoke,
Virginia. We left Roanoke on the 29th of December and headed
south because of inclement weather. We took 1-10 across the lower
United States. In Arizona we had transmission problems and after
conferring with the factory it was determined that it needed
to be fixed ASAP. The nearest facility was in Las Vegas, so we
had to spend a night Vegas, a new experience for Steve since
he had never been to Nevada and he was impressed. Once the transmission
was repaired, we made it home without further incident.
Part of the equipment that I required for
this piece of apparatus was 5" LDH (Large Diameter Hose).
I was familiar with this from The Dalles. It carried 800 feet
of this hose and when you hooked it to a fire hydrant, it was
like taking the fire hydrant right to the fire with you. Black
Butte Ranch RFPD was the first department in Central Oregon
to use this size hose; it's utilized by all the departments
As mentioned early, the Fire District rented homes
for all of the employees, which was quite expensive. After careful
review, in 1987, I presented a plan to build two homes, over
a two year period for housing the Chief and Asst. Chief. This
would allow the other employees to move off the Ranch and furnish
their own housing; something they were looking forward to. Black
Butte Ranch Homeowners Assn. donated two pieces of property.
We built a home for the Asst. Chief in 1987 and the Chief's home
in 1988. Ironically, both homes were built before the ARC changed
the roof requirements and they both ended up with shake roofs.
The New Fire Station
In 1990 we started reviewing response times within the district.
We all knew that the location at the front of the Ranch was
not ideal. With these studies we were able to show that it
would take as long as ten minutes to reach some areas of
the Ranch. One of the key factors looked at in our studies
concerned the District's ISO (Insurance Services Organization)
rating. This has to do with how much insurance companies
charge for fire insurance. The district was rated ISO Class
5. We were sure we could get it reduced to a Class 4. Lowering
the rating could reduce fire insurance rates.
With these statistics in hand, we held several public meetings
making the homeowners aware of the problem and how to best
solve it. The best solution was moving the fires station to
the middle of the Ranch. After negotiating with the BBR Homeowners
Assn. we bought the land where the station is now and the Ranch
bought the old fire station at the front of the Ranch.
The District submitted a bond to the voters to build the new
facility and it passed with an overwhelming majority. The building
was built and we moved into it in 1991. This building was initially
designed by the staff and me, then submitted to the same architect
who built the first building. The living quarters were designed
specifically to enhance the student program. There were two
dorm rooms for the career staff to share and another six dorm
rooms that could sleep up to 11 people. There were also bathrooms
for both men and women, which was not common in most fire stations.
Several of the students have been female.
After moving into the new facilities we requested
a new rating survey by ISO. They grade a department’s
equipment, training, water supply, dispatch capabilities, response
times and numerous other things. A two man team was sent out
who spent three days looking at our records, equipment, checking
the water system, etc. About three months later, we received
our results: an ISO Class 3 rating. This was extremely rare
for a department our size.
Bringing New Technology to the Fire Service
In 1978 I witnessed a demonstration of Compressed
Air Foam, which made a lasting impression. This was one of the
first times that foam was used for structure and wild land firefighting.
Foam was widely used throughout the fire service at the time,
but its only application was for fossil fuel fires.
In 1990 we purchased a Dodge 3/4 ton 4x4 pickup
and after explaining the benefits of CAFS to the fire board we
had a 200 gallon unit built for the truck. This unit was made
by Odin Corporation, of Newport, Oregon. They were on the cutting
edge of this technology. It was their large CAFS units that had
been used during the 1988 Yellowstone Fire to save the main lodge.
The main benefit of CAFS is that it makes water wetter. In effect, it
expands the water supply by 10 to 20 times; in other words the
200 gallons of water are now 2,000 to 4,000 gallons of fire suppression
product. Another important benefit is that the hose lines are
lighter because the product in the line is ninety percent air.
A lighter hose reduces fire fighter fatigue.
Two students and I used this unit on the Awbrey
Hall fire. We were assigned to protect the Entrada Lodge on Century
Drive, just outside of Bend. This was a large motel complex and
all the buildings had wood shake roofs. I was assigned two water
tenders carrying a total of 4,000 gallons of water plus our 200
CAFS unit. Bend Fire Department had an engine at the entrance
of the complex drafting water from the swimming pool. Their priority
was to protect the office building. We were in direct line of a major,
out of control wildland fire that was due to reach the complex within
45 minutes. With the water tenders providing water we went through
the entire complex and put a coat of wet foam on the roofs.
When the fire reached us, the primary flames were
diverted around our position, but we had a major burning ember
storm that saturated the area. Our foam held and there were no
fires in the complex. The fire storm through the area had been
so intense that the 11 o'clock news prematurely reported the
Entrada Lodge had been destroyed.
After our experience in the Awbrey Hall fire,
the board authorized retrofitting the Grumman fire engine with
its own compressor and foam delivery system. At the time it was
the first structure engine to have a compressor powered by the
main engine of the vehicle. It also had the largest air compressor
available for this type of application. About six months later,
Odin received a call from the City of Boston Fire Department
wanting to be the first to a set up a structure engine like ours.
Needless to say, they were quite surprised to find the technology
already being used by a small rural fire department in Central
Oregon. It took a few more years for other departments in Central
Oregon to adopt this concept.
Protecting the Perimeter
With the large number of fires around Central
Oregon in the late 80's and early 90's, the fire district’s major concern was US Forest Service land that
bordered most of the Ranch. A fire coming onto the Ranch from USFS land could
be devastating. We were beginning to get owners to cleanup their property but
nothing was being done outside of the Ranch boundaries. One problem with a
fire starting on the Ranch and moving into US Forest Service land was the potential
liability for and individual for suppression costs if a fire escape on to other
After discussing this matter with the fire board,
we determined that I should approach the Forest Service with
our concerns. The district ranger had the same concerns. This
initial meeting resulted in the first cooperative partnership
in the area that the US Forest Service had entered into. The
goal of the agreement was to establish a zone that would not
allow a crown fire to reach the Ranch. The trees would be thinned,
and the ladder fuels (brush) would be removed either by controlled
burns or mechanical means.
The partnership consisted of the USFS providing
people and equipment to do the thinning and brush removal. Black
Butte Ranch RFPD provided equipment and personnel to assist in
controlled burns. The Friends of Black Butte Ranch provided volunteers
to help both the US Forest Service and the fire district. Because
of its success of this first partnership, the USFS has made similar
agreements with other subdivisions and resorts.
I firmly believe that the work done by the USFS
along McAllister Road on the west side of the Ranch prior to
the Cache Mountain Fire hitting the Ranch was a primary factor
in saving a large portion of the Golf Home section. The fire
district personnel did a fantastic job protecting the Ranch,
when that fire hit but had that half mile of USFS land not been
treated all the manpower in the state may not have saved this
section of homes.
Even though I had retired prior to this 2002 Casche Mountain
fire, my new business had a small bearing on that section of
property. I was hired by Black Butte Ranch to bring my tractor
mounted brush mower in and mow the brush between Fiddleneck Lane
and the USFS border. This work created a clean break between
Fiddleneck Lane and McAllister Road, also slowing down the fire
storm which hit the northwest corner of the Ranch.
Airlife and new equipment for the Ranch
During the mid 90's Airlife, the Bend based helicopter
ambulance service, had a program asking volunteers to be Flight
Medics. All of the staff at Black Butte Ranch RFPD, including
myself, were volunteers in this program. This was a chance to
enhance our paramedic skills, with lifesaving benefits to the
people we served on the Ranch. It was also a very unique and
rewarding experience for me.
Prior to my retirement the staff and I made a
proposal to the fire board to replace most of our aging equipment.
They concurred with our decision so we submitted a bond to the
voters of the district for just over one million dollars. The
bond passed and we went out for bids for an ambulance, a wildland
urban interface engine, a 75 foot ladder truck, that had its
own pump and hose, and a rescue ambulance. E-one, the manufacture
of fire apparatus was the low bidder, therefore the apparatus
was purchased from them.
The rescue ambulance is unique in that it carry's 200 gallons
of water for fire uppression, rescue tools, and it can transport
patients. We had a mutual aid agreement with Sisters/Camp Sherman
RFPD to respond on the Santiam pass for motor vehicle accidents.
Being eight miles closer to the pass we would normally be the
first unit on the scene. Anytime vehicles are involved in accidents
there is the potential for fire. Prior to the purchase of this
new equipment, we were responding to these accidents with no
way to protect our staff and victims from fire. The new vehicle
addressed this safty issue.
I retired February 28, 1999, prior to any of the
vehicles being delivered to the district. After retiring I bought
a small John Deere with equipment and established a business,
Defensible Space Specialist. My wife Linda sold her hair business
in 2002 and joined me. We help people create a space around their
homes that can be defended from a wildfire by fire service personnel.
This entails tree, brush, and needle removal using a variety
of equipment. I have also done consulting for a small un-incorporated
fire department in Central Oregon, which included inspecting
lots and writing letters to the owners advising them of what
needed to be done to protect their home from wildfire.
I'm proud and honored to have worked for Black
Butte Ranch RFPD and feel that during the time I was Chief, the
district had a positive impact on a lot of people: the students
that are now enjoying a career in the fire service, the other
agencies of Central Oregon that followed our lead, and especially
the people of Black Butte Ranch.