Mammoth Fire Chief retires

Chief Brent Harper

Chief Brent Harper

Mammoth Lakes Fire Chief Brent Harper took over the helm at Mammoth Fire District nearly 9 years ago. On August 15th, he will retire. His tenure saw many improvements in Mammoth Fire Department.

Since Harper took over, the Department has built a new fire station, increased the membership by about 30%, and purchased a new ladder truck and brush engine. Harper and the Fire Department also started an aggressive fuels reduction program in cooperation with the Inyo National Forest. This includes doing almost 2,000 home inspections for defensible space.

Harper said, “The greatest thing that we have done is our staffing model. We use a combination of full-time personnel and volunteer/part-time personnel to cover the ‘first-out’ engine. This has done a lot for our program,” he said.

Harper explained that the staffing model has Increased retention because of some extra income to the volunteers, has reduced response times and has provided for a “surge of volunteers for major alarms such as structure fires.” Harper said the Department can typically put more than 25 firefighters on a structure fire.

Before his stint in Mammoth Lakes, Chief Harper worked as a firefighter, dispatcher, Battalion Chief, and training officer for the Nevada Division of Forestry. He also served as professor, chief of the fire academy, assistant dean and director for the Regional Public Safety Training Center at Truckee Meadows Community College. His own steady progress in education includes a Masters Degree in Executive Fire Service Leadership. Harper also served as Chief of the Verdi Volunteer Fire Department along with many other fire-related tasks.

Asked about his work in Mammoth, Harper said, “I have had a great career. Mammoth Fire was a great ‘capstone’ to that career. Our greatest asset is our people, they do a fantastic job and are fun to work with!”

As for Harper’s replacement, he said in December of 2012 Frank Frievalt was hired as Assistant Chief with the intent that he would become Chief upon Harper’s retirement. Frievalt came from Sparks, Nevada. Harper said he has known Frievalt for a long time.

After retirement, Harper and his wife Debby will move to Gardnerville, where they bought a house a couple of years ago. At Wednesday’s Town Council meeting, Chief Harper will be recognized upon his retirement. He will also give the Council an update on the fuels reduction program. This will take place close to the beginning of the 6pm meeting under presentations.

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9 Responses to Mammoth Fire Chief retires

  1. Wgd54 August 6, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    Best of luck to Frank Frievalt, he’s a good man!

  2. Mammothite August 5, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    Thank you for your service to the Town of Mammoth Lakes Chief Harper.

    We are losing a good Fire Chief and a good Police Chief at the same time.

    • Mark August 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

      Both were paid well for their service.

      Save the “thank you for your service” comments for those in our military who get shot at, don’t receive two hot meals a day, and receive extremely low pay.

      Enjoy your retirement & pension Chief Harper

  3. Charles O. Jones August 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Congratulations Chief Harper.
    Enjoy your well-deserved retirement.

  4. upthecreek August 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    good luck to you chief..

    great move getting out of California.
    no need to stick around California and pay those obnoxiously high state income taxes.

    after all Nevada has 0 % state income tax.

    enjoy your retirement in Gardnerville, you deserve it…


    • Sierra Lady August 6, 2014 at 11:06 am #

      @ upthecreek, Chief Harper came to us from Reno, he owns a home there which he will be returning to.

      Chief Harper has been an invaluable Advisor to our Mammoth Lakes Community Response Team (CERT) for many years. He generously gave of his time providing training for our team as well as allowing us use of the Fire Station #1 training room when needed. He is a fine man with a wonderful sense of humor who will be greatly missed by the CERT group and the community.

      We hope the Chief and his wife enjoy their retirement. Don’t forget to return for the annual Fireman’s Picnic every year as the latest F.O.G.!

      B. Richter
      M.L. CERT Historian
      Member since 2008

      • Benett Kessler August 6, 2014 at 11:57 am #

        The Chief said he and his wife bought a home in Gardnerville and will move there. BK

        • Sierra Lady August 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

          ^ Thanks for that updated info, Benett. Some of us CERT members thought he was returning to the Reno area where he is from. Hope they enjoy their new home in Gardnerville.

          B. Richter

  5. Anita August 5, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    Absolutely think the world of this guy! Job well-done! We’re so fortunate to have such a smart, dedicated, professional public servant in our midst. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done.


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