San Bernardino, CA — San Bernardino County Fire Chief Pat Dennen plans to retire from an illustrious career, effective June 25—a career that was sparked by an ROP class that he took in the fall of 1974, while a senior at Big Bear High School. As Chief Dennen tells KBHR, “It was a fire science class in my senior year that got me excited. Then I went right into being a volunteer firefighter with the Big Bear City Fire Department.” His 36-year career in the public sector ultimately resulted in his current post as County Fire Chief, overseeing a 19,000 square mile area that includes 1,000 employees at over 80 facilities of the San Bernardino County Fire Department, including Fawnskin station #49 and Baldwin Lake station #97.
During Dennen’s more than 12 years serving the County, the department underwent a reorganization during his command, which included the consolidation of 27 separate fire districts. Other accomplishments to Chief Dennen’s credit include the development of a state-recognized Urban Search and Rescue Team, the creation of a County Fire Incident Management Team, and leadership in the development of the Mountain Area Safety Task Force (which, this week, recognizes Wildfire Awareness Week). After the 2003 fires, Chief Dennen was asked to serve on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force, a commission he still serves on today, as well as representing all fire districts in the southern half of California on the FIRESCOPE Board of Directors; and, as noted here last year, Chief Dennen was appointed as the Regional Coordinator for CalEMA Region VI, meaning he oversees the coordination and dispatch of regional mutual aid resources and rescue emergency plans for six counties, which include San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial, Inyo and Mono.
In his retirement letter to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, he said he planned to stay with the department until June’s end to finish the budget process before the beginning of the next fiscal year and thanked the Board and the County for a career he referred to as a “once-in-a -lifetime opportunity.” In a subsequent statement, San Bernardino County Fire Chief (and BBHS graduate) Pat Dennen says, “County Fire is an amazing team of true professionals who are unconditionally committed to our vision of being the premier fire service provider in Southern California. Their dedication simply amazes me. Together, we have collectively built one of the most widely respected fire departments in the state, if not the nation. It has been my honor to be the fire chief and fire warden for the largest fire protection district in the State of California, and in the largest county in the United States.”
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