Nevada County Consolidated Fire District Chief Tim Fike plans to submit his resignation in the next couple of weeks, he said Monday morning.
"This is very, very hard," he said. "I'm torn both ways, but it is time to be with my family - time to be with my wife."
Fike has been chief of the consolidated fire district since 1997 and before that led the Watt Park Fire District before it was assimilated into the present district.
All told, Fike has been involved in firefighting for the past 30 years and he said the commitment has taken a toll on him and his family.
"I've been on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the past 30 years and my wife has had to put up with it," he said. "It is a very stressful job being a fire chief."
Fike's district recently underwent a contentious ballot election relating to a fee assessment increase. The election was beset by mistakes, miscommunication and allegations of mismanagement; however, Fike said it was not the controversy surrounding the process that led to his decision to retire.
"This is the third or fourth (election) I've made it through," he said. "They are always incredibly stressful, but I feel good that we got it through. I think the future is secure in terms of public safety in the district."
Fike said the death of 18 fellow firefighters over the course of his career has worn him down.
Although he never witnessed a firefighter's death during his time at the consolidated fire district, he has seen firefighters lose their lives while fighting wildland fires and responding to large-scale disasters all around the United States.
Fike said he expects to officially submit his resignation at the next fire district board meeting.
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