PARTNERSHIPS: A Time and Place for Resiliency


Pat McElroy had been fighting fires for the City of Santa Barbara for 37 years, serving as fire chief for the last five, and was poised to retire. Yes, Santa Barbara is a great place to live, and firefighters consider the city one of the most desirable work details in the nation. But wildfires are becoming larger and occurring with greater frequency, and McElroy had tackled his fair share. He was, as he put it, “More than ready to begin a new chapter.” At noon on December 4, 2017, the City of Santa Barbara sent out a press release announcing McElroy’s intention to step down in 100 days. Just six hours later, the Thomas Fire sparked north of Santa Paula.

Rachelle Sassi