Joe Tyler announced as CAL FIRE's new director

Tyler most recently served as the deputy director of fire protection, and before that as an assistant deputy director


Michael McGough
The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California's battle with wildfires has never been more intense. Now, the state has a new leader.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday appointed Joe Tyler as the director and chief of Cal Fire, formally known as the Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention.

A 31-year veteran who joined the state fire agency in 1991, Tyler replaces Thom Porter, who retired from the role in December.

"I am honored to have been selected to lead Cal Fire and I look forward to serving the people of California while promoting the health and welfare of our employees," Tyler said in a prepared statement Friday, his first full day as chief.

Tyler, a 50-year-old Rancho Cordova resident, began his career as a firefighter in Cal Fire's Shasta-Trinity unit. He most recently served as the deputy director of fire protection, and before that as an assistant deputy director, Cal Fire said in a news release.

Cal Fire's announcement called Tyler "instrumental" in the agency's acquisition of a new fleet of helicopters and C-130 air tankers used to combat major wildfires.

Porter announced his intent to retire last November, doing so to "focus on family, aging parents, and self," after two of the most brutal wildfire seasons in state history in 2020 and 2021. Former Gov. Jerry Brown named Porter acting director of Cal Fire in December 2018, and Newsom named him permanent director on his first day as governor.

Tyler is the 22nd director in Cal Fire's 137-year history, according to Friday's news release.

The agency currently has more than 9,600 employees and a budget of $3.7 billion.

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(c)2022 The Sacramento Bee

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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