Chief Bigelow began his CAL FIRE career in 2004 as a Fire Fighter I at the Ahwahnee station in the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit (MMU), where he spent five seasons. In 2009, he promoted to a Fire Apparatus Engineer at the Coarsegold Station, also in MMU. In 2013, Chief Bigelow promoted to Limited Term Fire Captain at the Columbia Air Attack Base in the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit (TCU) working as the Air Tanker Base Manager. At the end of the 2013 fire season, he accepted a permanent Fire Captain position in MMU as the Pre-Fire Engineer. In 2017, he promoted to Battalion Chief as the Southern Region Pre-Fire Coordinator. In 2020, Frank then promoted to the Deputy Chief of the then-called Wildfire Prevention Engineering Division in the Office of the State Fire Marshal, where he oversaw five statewide programs. In 2021, he accepted a Staff Chief position in the newly created Community Wildfire Preparedness & Mitigation Division, overseeing eight statewide programs. Most recently, Chief Bigelow was the Assistant Deputy Director (ADD) of Community Wildfire Preparedness & Mitigation, the ADD of Fire Engineering & Investigations, and oversaw the division’s support services section.

Chief Bigelow was integral in the development of the Online Burn Permit process. In 2018, Chief Bigelow was a part of a small group who implemented the CALFIRS system. He also co-developed an application for field data collection on fuels reduction projects used by the Fuels Crews. 

Chief Bigelow represents the department in various capacities. He is a Board of Directors member for the California Fire Safe Council and is a member of the newly created CAL POLY Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Fire Institute Steering Committee. Additionally, he chairs the CalMAPPER Steering Committee, serves on various Wildfire & Forest Resilience Taskforce working groups, and is part of the eGIS Committee, as well as many others. Chief Bigelow is also a State Fire Marshal instructor, and a California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) instructor. His knowledge of GIS and Environmental Science Research Institute (ESRI) products will be of great benefit in this new role. 

Please join me in congratulating Chief Bigelow on his assignment as we work to fill the position permanently.