Chief Gouvea began his career with CAL FIRE in 1990, as a Firefighter I in the Shasta Trinity Unit (SHU). In January 1998, Bret accepted a permanent FAE position in SHU at Redding Headquarters, and promoted to Fire Captain, working in Training and at Fire Stations before promoting to a field Battalion Chief in 2006.  In 2010, Bret accepted an Assistant Chief position at Ishi Conservation Camp in the Tehama-Glenn Unit.  In 2012, he transferred back to SHU as Assistant Chief, East Division/Sugar Pine Conservation Camp before accepting the Deputy Chief Operations position in SHU December 2013. In December 2018, Chief Gouvea accepted the position of CAL FIRE SHU Unit Chief and Shasta County Fire Department Chief and County Fire Warden. In March 2022, Bret was appointed to the Assistant Deputy Director position overseeing Cooperative Fire Protection, Training, Safety and EMS.

Chief Gouvea has been involved in many training cadres, including senior instructor for Fire Control 3 and the course coordinator for Intermediate Firing Methods (C-234).  He was a member of the Firing Methods series curriculum development working group for nine years and a member of the L-950 Incident Commander Cadre.  Bret served for 12 years on four different Incident Management Teams as an Operations Branch Director, Operations Section Chief, and in 2015, he was named the Incident Commander on CAL FIRE IMT 1.  Bret was a member of the statewide Budget Re-design Committee and the Chairman of SHIELD, a regional training consortium comprised of public safety organizations from Shasta, Trinity and Tehama counties, as well as Shasta Community College, in which he assisted in the development of in 2015. Chief Gouvea holds an Associate of Arts Degree in Fire Science from Shasta Community College, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Administration from California State University, Chico.