• March 6, 2023

Future Fire Chief of German County Trains with LACoFD

Future Fire Chief of German County Trains with LACoFD

Future Fire Chief of German County Trains with LACoFD 1024 575 Karen Zarsadiaz

For three weeks, Fire Brigade Officer Mike Hengstler from the County Breisgua-Hochschwarzwald, located in southern Germany (close to the border of France and Switzerland), trained with the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) to complete a portion of the requirements needed to become the next fire chief in his district.

By completing the training from January 30, 2023, to February 17, 2023, he is a step closer to earning the highest fire brigade degree in Germany.

FBO Hengstler chose the LACoFD because of its expertise in fighting brush fires and the Department’s extensive study and knowledge of climate changes and its effects in wildland firefighting.

“The focus of my apprenticeship at the LACoFD centered on the forest and vegetation firefighting,” said FBO Hengstler.  “I had very good discussions with experts on the topics of fire behavior, tactics, and equipment.  We also discussed the use of heavy equipment and aircraft to fight fires.  I am extremely fortunate to be able to benefit from so much experience.”

Next year, in January 2024, FBO Hengstler is expected to take over as fire chief in a district similar to the LACoFD; a district of 50 communities, near the Black Forest, with a total of 117 fire stations and nearly 4,500 firefighters.

The area FBO Hengstler would oversee is about 48% forested and has experienced its share of forest and vegetation fires from drought conditions.

“Thank you to everyone who made this (the training) possible and spent time with me,” said FBO Hengstler.  “A very special thank you to Fire Chief Anthony Marrone, Deputy Fire Chief Vince Pena, and, of course, Captain James Golondzinier, who gave me excellent advice for three weeks!”