Interim Fire Chief Kirk Summers reaches the end of his term and the search is on for a new fire chief

Stu News contacted Fire Chief Kirk Summers this morning to ask about a recent vegetation fire – and Chief Summers, responsive as always, let us know the details – but also reminded us that his term is coming to an end in two weeks. Chief Summers, we hardly knew ye! 

The time has gone by so quickly since he was appointed, and we’ve not had any major fires, fortunately, though Chief Summers has presided over a department that has done sterling duty in helping battle the Thomas Fire and other California blazes.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A great fire engine photo because, why not?

Here’s the deal about the fire last week in Laguna, for starters, at the 2300 block of Hillview Drive. (Arson is not suspected.)

“It was a small fire that had lots of potential,” Chief Summers told us. “Our guys jumped on it hard and kept it small. Captain Maxon and the first arriving crew of Engine 3 did a great job knocking down the fire.  The cause of the fire is undetermined at this point.

“It was nice to get some rain a couple of weeks ago but with the warm, dry weather we have been experiencing, we are right back in to fire season (still beats Chicago!),” Summers added. “Our residents need to use the same degree of caution that they would in August or September. Even in the absence of a severe wind, a slope driven fire in one of our canyons could cause great damage.  Our residents need to keep fire safety in mind all year round and keep native vegetation cut back and ornamental vegetation trimmed and well-watered.”

We hear you, Chief. But what’s up with you, we asked? And who will succeed you?

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Interim Fire Chief Kirk Summers

“All is good here. I am wrapping up my last couple of weeks here at LBFD. I am teaching an Incident Command class next week at the County EOC and then the week of the 12-15, that will be it! Then back to retirement for a while…I keep saying that.”

Stu News called City Manager John Pietig to find out how the search for a new fire chief is going. He tells us that since Feb 15 is Chief Summers’ last day, plans are already in place for Division Chief Tom Christopher to serve as interim chief until an appointment is made. Christopher will handle the day-to-day fire chief responsibilities until a permanent fire chief comes on board.

“We are still reviewing the final candidates and it’s going to be a month or so before we are able to make an announcement,” Pietig said.

We wish Chief Summers all the best for his retirement, though we suspect this will be another short retirement for this dedicated firefighter.

--Lynette Brasfield

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Lynette Brasfield is our Features Editor.

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Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Cameron Gillespie, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers and/or columnists.

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