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Frank Bigelow Jr. Receives Cal Fire Appointment

SACRAMENTOThe Cal Fire Office of the State Fire Marshall is excited to announce the appointment of Frank Bigelow to Deputy Director of Community Wildfire Preparedness & Mitigation with the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

20 Years of Experience

  • 2004 Chief Bigelow began his CAL FIRE career as a Fire Fighter I at the Ahwahnee Station in the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit (MMU), where he spent five seasons.
  • 2009 he promoted to a Fire Apparatus Engineer at the Coarsegold Station, also in MMU.
  • 2013 Chief Bigelow promoted to Limited Term Fire Captain at the Columbia Air Attack Base in the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit (TCU) working as the Air Tanker Base Manager. At the end of the 2013 fire season, he accepted a permanent Fire Captain position in MMU as the Pre-Fire Engineer.
  • 2017 he promoted to Battalion Chief as the Southern Region Pre-Fire Coordinator.
  • 2020 Frank then promoted to the Deputy Chief of the then-called Wildfire Prevention Engineering Division in the Office of the State Fire Marshal, where he oversaw five statewide programs.
  • 2021 he accepted a Staff Chief position in the newly created Community Wildfire Preparedness & Mitigation Division, overseeing eight statewide programs.
  • 2023 (January) Chief Bigelow became the Assistant Deputy Director of Community Wildfire Preparedness & Mitigation and Fire Engineering & Investigations and oversaw the Office’s Support Services Division.
  • 2023 (November) he was designated as Acting Deputy Director of Community Wildfire Preparedness & Mitigation and Fire Engineering & Investigations in November 2023.

A Multitude of Achievements

Chief Bigelow was integral in the development of the Online Burn Permit process. In 2018, Chief Bigelow was a part of a small group who implemented the CALFIRS system. Also, he co-developed an application for field data collection on fuels reduction projects used by the Fuels Crews. Additionly, he has been involved with the development and improvement of each version of the CalMAPPER application since Version 1.

Chief Bigelow represents the department in various capacities. He is a Board of Director member for the California Fire Safe Council and is a member of the newly created Cal Poly WUI FIRE Institute Advisory Council (CWAC). Additionally, he chairs the Management Activity Project Planning & Event Reporter (CalMAPPER) Steering Committee, serves on various Wildfire & Forest Resilience Taskforce working groups, and is part of the GIS Workgroup, as well as many others. Chief Bigelow is also a State Fire Marshal Training instructor, and a California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) instructor. His knowledge of GIS and Environmental Science Research Institute (ESRI) products will be of great benefit in this new role.

Local Connections

Aside from his service in MMU, Mr. Bigelow is also the son of Frank Bigelow, a past Madera County Supervisor, California State Assemblyman, and a lifelong resident of O’Neals California. The Bigelows have been in Madera County since the late 1800’s and formed thriving businesses and ranching operations.

Shared by Michael Schwabenl, who has requested that the Madera County Board of Supervisors consider a special congratulations and recognition to Mr. Bigelow, the Bigelow family has roots that date to the late 1800’s. Frank’s great grandparents, Harmon and Leota Bigelow, settled in the O’Neals area of Madera County and established a cattle and sheep ranch. They also established a wagon and stage line that served the high country of the Sierra Nevada. Later, Harmon strung two wires through the trees so that his wife could talk to her friend a half-mile away with a telephone. In 1908, after requests for service from other settlers and a subsequent request by the Forest Service to take over its phone lines, the Bigelow Telephone Company became Ponderosa Telephone Company. Frank resides in O’Neals, with his wife of 35 years, Barbara. First elected to the State Assembly in 2012, Bigelow is committed to protecting rural California and our rural way of life.”

Please join us in congratulating Chief Bigelow on his promotion!

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