Career fireman takes on CDF region

archive_import

By MIKE JENSEN

He's been the grunt on the front lines, hauling around fire hoses and cutting fire lines. He's driven fire engines, been a fire captain and overseen the training of thousands of firefighters.

Now Fred McVay is ready for his toughest assignment yet chief of the California Department of Forestry's Tuolumne-Calaveras Ranger Unit. He will also be Tuolumne County's Fire Warden.

"I didn't come down here to fix a lot of problems," said McVay. "I came here to be part of a really great team."

Among new challenges McVay sees ahead are managing local and state land while using a combination of land and air fire-fighting equipment.

"This is probably one of your more diverse units," said the 54-year-old.

McVay, who previously was the CDF Academy administrator in Ione, replaces Del Albright, who retired from the position last year.

As the ranger unit chief, McVay will oversee firefighting efforts for all of Alpine, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, plus portions of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. He's responsible for 130 full-time and 100 part-time CDF firefighters, a $12 million budget, two air tankers, a spotter plane and helicopter, 22 fire engines and two inmate camps.

As Tuolumne County's fire warden, he'll also oversee four full-time employees and 80 volunteer firefighters.

McVay started with the state forestry and fire department as a seasonal firefighter while he was still a senior at Sanger High School.

By his third season with CDF, McVay was ready to quit school and make firefighting his career. Over the next 34 years, he worked his way up the ranks working in firefighting, training, prevention, arson investigation and land management.

McVay has spent the week meeting county officials and firefighters. He says he plans to attend every firefighter function and go out on every fire possible.

"I don't really believe you manage a (ranger) unit from behind a desk," he said.

11699513
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Saturday August 27, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Sheriff’s Office responds to critical report

08/22/2016

The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has responded to a grand jury report ... more

Woman dies of injuries in Highway 120 accident

08/24/2016

The woman who spent Monday night pinned in an SUV after an ... more

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt to remain in prison

08/23/2016

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt won’t be getting out of prison anytime soon. ... more

Three rescued from wreck near Yosemite

08/23/2016

Three German tourists were rescued Tuesday from the scene of a crash ... more

Thunderstorms rolling in this week

08/22/2016

Thunderstorm activity is expected to continue today in the mountains of eastern ... more