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Ventura County gets new Fire Chief

Lance Orozco
Ventura County firefighters at the scene of the January 2021 Erbes brushfire in Thousand Oaks.

Ventura County Fire Department veteran Dustin Gardner promoted to top spot.

Ventura County didn’t have to go far to fill a big job, pulling someone from within the ranks of the county fire department to become its next fire chief.

After a nationwide search, Dustin Gardner is being promoted to the agency’s top spot. Gardner has been with the department for more than two decades, most recently serving as Deputy Chief. He’ll be the 12th chief in the department’s nearly 100-year history.

He’ll fill the vacancy created by the departure of Mark Lorenzen. Lorenzen had been with the Ventura County Fire Department for more than three decades, including more than a decade as chief. He was at the helm of the department during the massive Thomas and Woolsey wildfires.

Lorenzen is headed to Northern California, where he’ll be the new Chief of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District.