WENATCHEE - Chelan County Fire District 1 will have a new fire chief come July, 2018.
Chelan County Fire District 1 Chief Mike Burnett has announced his retirement and named his successor as current Douglas County Fire District 2 assistant chief and Fire Marshal Brian Brett. Chief Burnett has had two-five year contracts with the district; his current one ending in February of 2019.
“My ten years with the organization will be a mere blink of an eye in the big scheme of things,” said Burnett, but Brett quickly responded to his modesty.
“He was the right chief at the right time,” future Chief Brett said. “He came into the valley and really united two fire departments.”
Chelan and Douglas County fire districts work closely on a number of issues the valley faces, including the need for volunteers. Projects such as the Recruitment Academy for the two districts will begin in January 2018. There is currently a resident firefighter program which pays for tuition in full at Wenatchee Valley College for a Fire Science Associate's Degree.
“We’re understaffed and we’re always looking for more firefighters,” said Brett. The districts are always looking to expand volunteer options and ideally hiring more career firefighters, he added.
Although the switch in fire chiefs won’t happen for a while, Brett will be making the switch from Douglas District 2 to Chelan District 1 on Jan. 2, 2018. Brett will be District 1’s deputy chief until July, then he and Burnett will switch roles.
“The guys are ecstatic about having him as the next chief,” said Burnett. “Everyone that knows him, thinks that we scored big.”
Burnett said he has lots of plans for after his full retirement in 2019. “I’ll stay busy,” said Burnett after listing projects from his antique cars to Mission Ridge Ski Patrol.