Interim tag gone, Drennan named fire chief for South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — After holding nearly all the positions at South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue over the past 20-plus years, Jim Drennan has been appointed fire chief, city officials announced on Friday.

South Lake Tahoe City Manager Joe Irvin appointed Drennan to the position which will take effect on Tuesday, Aug. 9, where he will be sworn in during the city council meeting.

“Chief Drennan is a collaborative leader who leans into regional initiatives to improve response capabilities throughout the basin,” Irvin said in a news release. “He not only makes South Lake Tahoe safer, but works to make the entire basin safer for residents and visitors alike. His leadership is founded on strong character, doing the right thing, and walking the walk. He doesn’t ask of anyone anything he wouldn’t or hasn’t done himself. That is the mark of a true leader and I’m proud to name him as our next fire chief.”

Jim Drennan is the new fire chief for South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue.

Drennan has served with SLTFR since January 2000 starting out as a reserve firefighter and was promoted through the ranks to battalion chief in 2016. He most recently served as the interim fire chief. 

“It is an honor to be appointed as fire chief of a city that I love and have served for more than 22 years,” Drenna said in the release. “The men and women of this department embody what it means to be in the fire service and I am looking forward to leading them into the next chapter.”

In his time with the city, Drennan has managed multiple engine companies, provided incident command at large incidents, commanded engine company emergency response, and directed station activities related to fire suppression, inspection, prevention, training and public education, said the release. Most recently, as a battalion chief, Drennan assumed full command responsibility for fire suppression and emergency response. 

He has been assigned to the training chief, administration chief, and operations chief positions at different times over the last six years.

During the Caldor Fire, he worked in the Emergency Operations Center as well as at the command post as a liaison for the city to help coordinate response. Once the fire made it to Echo Summit he spent most of his time in the field working with local resources. 

In addition, Drennan works closely with the other Tahoe Basin fire entities to ensure mutual aid and joint emergency response is seamless. After the department secured the SAFER grant in 2020 for seven firefighter positions, he led the re-opening of Fire Station 2 to support the growing needs of the community. He has also created and implemented the Firefighter Rescue Policy and built the South Shore Response Plan, unifying response with local agencies. 

Drennan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and has completed the California Fire Chiefs Association Officer Leadership curriculum. He has served as adjunct faculty for the Lake Tahoe Community College’s Fire Academy since 2007 and is a member of the Echo Lakes Association as a voting board member.

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