Annual Meeting Speaker Ken Pimlott, Director of CAL FIRE


Chief Ken Pimlott was appointed Director of CAL FIRE by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 after an outstanding, 30-year long career in state fire protection programs. As Chief of CAL FIRE and also California’s State Forester, Mr. Pimlott is responsible for 237 fire stations, 39 conservation camps, 12 air attack, and 10 helitack bases.

At the heart of CAL FIRE’s emergency response and resource protection capability is a force of over 5,300 full-time professionals, foresters, and administrative employees; 1,783 seasonal fire fighters; 600 volunteers; and 3,500 inmates and wards. To transport and support these forces, CAL FIRE operates nearly 1,000 re engines (343 state and 624 local government); 184 rescue squads; 63 paramedic units; 28 aerial ladder trucks; 59 bulldozers; 22 1,200-gallon air tankers, 12 helicopters, and 17 air tactical planes.

Some may be surprised to learn that CAL FIRE is the primary fire fighting agency for much of the land east of the main ridge of our East Bay Hills, and is the most important mutual aid partner for our local fire agencies when called to assist with fires in the Hills.

From the time of his youth, Chief Pimlott demonstrated an interest in the great outdoors, and also in locomotives! While still in his teens he worked on the miniature “Redwood Valley Railroad” in Tilden Park alongside his father, Ken Sr., grandfather Neil, uncle Ray, and brother John, according to Ellen Thomsen, current owner and operator of the Railroad. Ms. Thomsen also recalled that the Pimlott family was active in a redwood restoration program, which followed the removal of frost-damaged eucalyptus trees in the 1970s. “It was Kenny’s job to go around every weekend with a hatchet and knock down any suckers that started out of the old stumps—until the eucalyptus just gave up. It took years. Now the redwood trees are 100 feet tall and busily harvesting fog to feed the headwaters of Wildcat Creek.”

We are honored to have Chief Pimlott present alongside Robert Doyle on November 12.