Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Eric Peterson will be retiring at the end of October 2018.
Chief Peterson made the announcement on Friday. He was appointed fire chief in 2015 and has also served as a firefighter, engineer, captain, Presidents of Firefighters Local 2046, training battalion chief, operations battalion chief, fire marshal, deputy fire chief, throughout his 32-year career.
“I have the pleasure of working with a great team of firefighters and support staff at the department, the support of wonderful operation area partners and support from the Board of Supervisors and County Executive Officer,” said Chief Peterson in a statement from the County of Santa Barbara. “It is hard to as for anything better.”
Chief Peterson’s long career encompasses major incidents that include: The Painted Cave, Zaca, Jesusita, Tea, Gap, Sherpa, Alamo, Rey, Whittier, Thomas and Holiday fires, as well as the Refugio Oil Spill in 2015 and the Jan. 9 Montecito mud and debris flow.
“Chief Peterson has dedicated his entire career to this County,” said County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato. “He has demonstrated leadership in the most trying of times, passion for doing what he believes is right, and, above all else, care for our residents and firefighters.”
Santa Barbara County First District Supervisor Das Williams wrote:
“I’ve appreciated Chief Peterson’s ability to foster strong relationships with our other fire agencies, at the local, state, and federal levels, which has been crucial in preparing for and responding to disasters in our area. His skill, experience and leadership will be greatly missed.”
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors have not yet named an interim fire chief but say they will do so before Chief Peterson’s retirement in October. The search for a permanent replacement begins in September.