There’s a new fire chief in town, as the Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District has named the City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s Deputy Fire Chief Rod Ballard to fill the post vacated by Fire Chief John Morley, who retired in September. Ballard signed his contract this morning and met personnel at the Big Bear Lake Fire Department this afternoon, since being hired by the Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District, which is chaired by Big Bear Lake City Council member Darrell Mulvihill; vice chair is Mayor Rick Herrick. Ballard has over 30 years experience in emergency services and, of his last 28 years with the City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, has been deputy fire chief for four years. Ballard has earned distinction as a Type 3 Incident Management Team commander and, during the wildfires of 2007, served as the City of San Diego Unified Incident Commander. His background in disaster preparedness and emergency response has lent itself to leadership roles in planning events including the Republican National Convention and the Super Bowl. Ballard was recently accepted by Harvard University’s Leadership in Crisis, John F. Kennedy School of Government and, this year, he will receive a BS in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University; he also teaches at the community college level and serves as president of San Diego Medical Services Enterprise, LLC, a $50 million a year medical transportation business. It is expected that by mid-April Ballard will assume the role of Big Bear Lake’s fire chief. The department’s Assistant Fire Chief Mark Mills has overseen the department since Morley’s retirement and was out of town, on vacation, when the appointment of Ballard was made.