The Board of Supervisors recognizes Jorge Rodriguez, bottom right, for his assistance with the 2019 Kincade Fire.

County Employee Honored for Responding to 2019 Kincade Fire

Author: Administrative Office
Date: 1/14/2020 1:57:06 PM

One County employee's "humbling" experience earns him kudos from the Board of Supervisors.

Jorge Rodriguez, a County of SLO Emergency Services Coordinator, was recently recognized by the County Board of Supervisors for his selfless action to provide emergency assistance to Sonoma County in response to the Kincade Fire last year.

The County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution recognizing Jorge on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

“Deploying to an area that has seen its share of incidents over the last few years is in a word, humbling,” Jorge said. “I met people who lost their home. I met people who lost their home in 2017 and were affected yet again this time. I am honored to receive this recognition; it was a privilege to serve the people of Sonoma County during the Kincade Fire.”

The Kincade Fire was the largest wildfire in California last year and the largest wildfire ever to occur in Sonoma County. The fire burned for 15 days, covered about 78,000 acres, destroyed 374 structures, and displaced nearly 52,000 Sonoma County residents. Through the Emergency Management Mutual Aid System, the County of San Luis Obispo joined other agencies throughout the state to assist Sonoma County by deploying personnel resources from the Office of Emergency Services.

Jorge works in the County Office of Emergency Services and offered to respond to Sonoma County’s call for mutual aid. He was deployed on October 26, 2019, working long shifts for 13 days in the Sonoma County Joint Information Center and Local Assistance Center. Jorge provided a critical communication link as a bilingual public information officer. He was committed to working for as long as he was needed to support Sonoma County.

Jorge posted incident information in Spanish on social media and provided live phone interviews in both English and Spanish to radio, television and print media, which provided around-the-clock news coverage of the fire. He also created a glossary for translators to ensure that they were consistent in their terminology. 

“I commend Jorge and our entire Emergency Services team for their selfless, ongoing efforts related to disasters – they truly live the County’s moto of ‘Not for Ourselves Alone’,” said Assistant County Administrative Officer Guy Savage on Tuesday. “All county residents should bookmark on their favorite browser in order to prepare themselves for future disasters and get information about ongoing disasters in our community. It was a pleasure to recognize him, and by extension all first responders at the Board meeting today.”