Podcast #58: First Chat with New Cal OES Fire Chief Brian Marshall


February 4, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Director Mark Ghilarducci officially swore in Brian Marshall as the new Fire and Rescue Chief. He was appointed to his new position in December.

Chief Marshall spent the previous six years as the fire chief and director of emergency services at the Kern County Fire Department. He served in several positions with the Kern County Fire Department since 1987, including interim fire chief and director of emergency services, deputy fire chief, fire battalion chief, fire captain, fire engineer and firefighter. He is also a member of FIRESCOPE and oversaw numerous disasters throughout central California, including the Erskine Fire in 2016.

Chief Marshall will be replacing Kim Zagaris, who announced his retirement in 2018. Zagaris was appointed as the Fire and Rescue Chief on April 1, 2001.

Prior to his appointment, Chief Zagaris was the Assistant Fire Chief for Cal OES with assignments in Region I, II, III, IV and V since 1987. He started his career as a Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) seasonal firefighter in 1977 and promoted through the ranks of the local, state and federal fire agencies to the State Fire and Rescue Chief. His extensive background in fire service, emergency management, and homeland security included working with local, state, federal and international agencies over the last 40 years.

Upon learning of his appointment, Kern County Fire Chief Brian Marshall said “I’m going to miss Kern County, working with the citizens and working for the citizens of Kern County.”

He will focus on preventing statewide emergencies in his new position. He has worked in the department since 1987, nearly 32 years. “It’s not been 32 years, it’s been a lifetime,” he said. “I want to go to Sacramento and protect the state,” he said. “I am just so excited about the opportunities that exist in Sacramento right now for me and my family. It’s exciting and scary at the same time.”


Marshall Sworn in as New Cal OES Fire Chief

VIDEO: Cal OES Director Gets First-Hand Look at Erskine Fire in Kern County

RAW VIDEO: Erskine Fire Burns Through Communities Near Lake Isabella

Erskine Fire Podcasts

The Erskine Fire: Beyond the Lines

Sobering Aerial View of Erskine Wildfire Destruction in Kern County

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