Chief Thom Porter
Chief Thom Porter was appointed Director by Governor Gavin Newsom on January 8, 2019.
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., designated Chief Porter Acting Director of CAL FIRE on December 14, 2018. Previously he served as Chief of Strategic Planning in CAL FIRE Sacramento Headquarters.
Thom began his career with CAL FIRE in 1999 as a Forester I in the Forestry Assistance Program at the Southern Operations Center. In 2001, he transferred to the San Diego Unit where he worked as the Urban and Community Forestry and then Unit Forester, responsible for the Unit Vegetation Management and Pre-fire programs.
In 2008, Thom promoted to Forestry and Fire Protection Administrator where he coordinated the regional delivery of the Department's Resource Management Programs, including fuels management grant programs. In 2012, Thom promoted to Unit Chief of the San Diego Unit, then promoted to Assistant Region Chief for the Southern Region on December 1, 2013. On June 1, 2015, he was appointed Southern Region Chief.
Prior to his CAL FIRE career, Thom worked as a Forester in the timber industry in Washington, Oregon, and California developing timber harvesting plans, which included planning and directing prescribed burning and company safety programs in all three states.
Chief Porter’s depth of fire department management expertise is balanced by his forestry background. He is a Registered Professional Forester in California with a bachelor’s degree in Forest Management from the University of California Berkeley.