County Fire Chief Retires

Written by Estero Bay News

December 18, 2020

Cal Fire/County Fire Chief Scott Jalbert (left) retired from the fire service on Dec. 12 after a 33-year career. Chief John Owens was named Interim County Fire Chief and will lead the agency until a replacement is named. Submitted photos

San Luis Obispo County Fire Department will get a new leader after the fire chief retired after over three decades with the fire service.

County Fire Chief, Scott Jalbert, hung up his turnouts Dec. 12 retiring from Cal Fire, which is under contract with the County to provide fire services for the unincorporated areas, as well as several local towns.

Chief Jalbert started with the former California Department of Forestry (CDF) now called Cal Fire as a “limited term/full-time fire apparatus engineer with the Santa Cruz Unit in 1987, according to a Resolution of congratulations passed by County Supervisors. He worked his way up the ranks until he was named Unit Chief on April Fool’s Day (April 1) 2016, becoming the de facto County Fire Chief as well.

The Deputy Chief, John Owens, has been named Acting Chief until a permanent replacement is chosen.
Among the “Whereas” passages is the characterization of Chief Jalbert’s command tenure, “with prudent oversight, dedicated leadership, commitment to the citizens, and with a vision that The San Luis Obispo County Fire Department will exceed expectations and maintain the highest standards of preparedness, training, and emergency response.”

And, “during his 33-year career, Chief Jalbert has worked with different agencies on complex large scale emergency situations such as Incident Commander for the Chimney Fire, Alamo Fire, Avila Fire and the San Bruno Gas Line Explosion; served as an Agency Administrator on the Thomas Fire, Woolsey Fire, Sherpa fire, and the Santa Barbara Mud-slide; Area Commander for the August Complex and the Rocky Mountain Area command in Colorado, and Operation Section Chief for several other large scale events.”

Starting out as a seasonal firefighter in the San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit, Chief Jalbert promoted through the ranks of “Fire Fighter II, Fire Apparatus Engineer, Fire Captain, Training Officer, Battalion Chief, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief, then Unit Chief.”
The Resolution commends Chief Jalbert’s service.

“The County of San Luis Obispo, Board of Supervisors, State of California, does hereby commend Scott Jalbert for his meritorious and conscientious mission of protecting life, property, and the natural resources in San Luis Obispo County.

“Be it further resolved, that the Board of Supervisors of San Luis Obispo County hereby wishes Scott Jalbert continued health and prosperity in his future endeavors.”

Estero Bay News congratulates Chief Jalbert on his decades of service and wish him a long and happy retirement.

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