Fall 2011

[Alumni News]

Ken Pimlott

California's Top Firefighter

Ken Pimlott Submitted Photo

KEN PIMLOTT (‘89, Forest Resource Management) has been appointed director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Pimlott follows another Humboldt State University graduate as head of the department. Del Walters (‘77, Forest Resource Management) held the position from 2009 to 2010.

Based in Sacramento, Pimlott oversees the fire protection of over 31 million acres of privately owned California wild land. He also works with state and local agencies to respond to more than 5,600 fires and nearly 400,000 emergencies and natural disasters a year.

A native of Lafayette, Calif., Pimlott has nearly 30 years of fire service experience, including 23 years with CAL FIRE. He began his career at age 17 as a reserve firefighter in Contra Costa County and enrolled at HSU in 1984, studying under the mentorship of Forestry Professor Brooks Sibley.

“He was really instrumental in expanding the forestry curriculum and placing an emphasis on fire protection and forestry principles,” says Pimlott. “The depth of experience that I gained helped me understand both the technical and policy issues related to fire protection and forestry, which has helped me in my work.”

After joining CAL FIRE as a firefighter in 1990, Pimlott quickly rose through the ranks. He held various positions in fire protection and resource management before being appointed to lead the agency in July.

“To have worked my way up from a firefighter to leading the department has been extremely rewarding,” Pimlott says. “The best part about my job is collaborating with our local, state and federal partners to achieve the department’s mission which, at the end of the day, is ultimately about serving the public.”