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Cal Fire Chief Rob Lewin leaving for job in Santa Barbara County

Cal Fire/San Luis Obispo Chief Rob Lewin talks about critical moments of the Cuesta Fire as he stands on the road where fire crews stopped the fire’s advance about a quarter mile from Santa Margarita in August.
Cal Fire/San Luis Obispo Chief Rob Lewin talks about critical moments of the Cuesta Fire as he stands on the road where fire crews stopped the fire’s advance about a quarter mile from Santa Margarita in August. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

San Luis Obispo County Fire Chief Robert Lewin of San Luis Obispo has announced his retirement from Cal Fire and plans to join the Santa Barbara Office of Emergency Management.

His last day will be Dec. 18, and he will start his new job as a senior manager with the Santa Barbara County agency on Jan. 4. Lewin has worked for the fire service for 37 years, with the past five years as county fire chief.

Lewin, 54, said it has been an honor to hold a leadership position with Cal Fire and San Luis Obispo County. He said he is looking forward to his new job.

“I want to thank the men and women of Cal Fire San Luis Obispo for their constant dedication and courage in the protection of life, property and the natural resources we all cherish,” he said.

Lewin said he was motivated to take the full-time job in Santa Barbara County out of love for emergency management. He is also looking forward to working to establish an emergency service center in northern Santa Barbara County.

“I have done a lot of emergency management up and down the state in my career,” he said.

Deputy Chief Steve Reeder will be the acting fire chief until a permanent successor can be found. Reeder has spent 30 years in the fire service and has served as deputy chief for the past two years.

“My intention is to take the good work that Chief Lewin has done and keep our projects moving forward,” Reeder said.

Lewin was appointed chief of Cal Fire’s San Luis Obispo Unit on Dec. 2, 2010. With this appointment, he also became the chief for San Luis Obispo County, the city of Pismo Beach, the Los Osos Community Services District and the Avila Beach Community Services District.

As chief, he oversees some 3,200 square miles in San Luis Obispo County and more than 600 personnel, including full-time, seasonal, inmate, California Conservation Corps, reserve and volunteer firefighters. He also oversees 21 fire stations, two conservation camps, an air attack base and an emergency command center.

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