The Nevada County Consolidated Fire District welcomed a new fire chief in November, bringing on Jason Robitaille to fill the position vacated by 37-year veteran Jim Turner.
Robitaille comes to the district with extensive experience in firefighting, having served the past five years as chief in Heber Springs, Arkansas. Before that, he spent the majority of his life in Calaveras County, and leapt at the chance to come back to California and carry his skills over to a new, but familiar position.
“I am excited to be here and it’s where my experience lies,” Robitaille said. “I was in Calaveras County and was a paramedic in Auburn, (worked for) Placer Hills Fire; a bulk of my work was in California. I relocated to Arkansas and was fire chief there until this opportunity.”
Robitaille said his initial inspiration for getting into firefighting was his father, who served as a volunteer firefighter, working selflessly for the betterment of their community.
“(It’s) that serving heart and seeing the impacts it had,” he said. “It helped me gravitate to that. Also playing team sports; the fire service is very similar to that. We rely on our team and our training to help mitigate incidences.”
After graduating from Calaveras High School, Robitaille attended a few colleges, earning degrees in fire technology, paramedics, and eventually a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas in business management.
Robitaille explained that the role of a fire chief encompasses many different facets.
“My role is to set those goals setting the vision with the department, make sure it’s in line with community needs, shareholders both internally and externally, (and) to make sure we are addressing target hazards and the threats in our community,” Robitaille said. “We have augmented our staffing to meet those challenges. Also to ensure our mission statement is being met as well as our core values.”
When not in the firehouse, Robitaille spends time camping and exploring with his wife and their two sons. He said he was initially drawn to the county after visiting every Father’s Day for the Bluegrass Festival at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Now, as a family, they enjoy camping, the outdoors, and even ice hockey.
“I love it,” he said. “I think this (area) checks all the boxes for us as a family. Plus, it’s a great department, and the other agencies have been very welcoming and kind. You can tell we share the same mentality in meeting with the community.”
Robitaille said though his job can be demanding, he and Nevada County Consolidated are intent on setting goals that will help residents stay safe not just during fire season but all year round.
“We will continue to be a community resource for our citizens and we will be an advocate for them,” Robitaille said. “We will work with them to help mitigate the threat of wildfire but prepare to aggressively attack fires; to limit the growth and protect their property and lives.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Nobles email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 530-477-4232.