Vail selects new fire chief
VAIL — Mark A. Novak, the current assistant chief for the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, has been named to head the Vail Fire Department. Novak, 48, will begin full-time employment with the town on Feb. 2. He was selected from a field of 105 candidates during a national search process which included six finalists.
About Novak’s Experience
Novak has more than 20 years of mountain resort community experience and has been assistant chief with the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District since 2011. During his tenure with the district which began in 1990, Novak has held positions as fire marshal, battalion chief, captain and firefighter/paramedic. He has also served as an adjunct fire science instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College and is currently enrolled in a Master of Public Administration program at American Military University.
The Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, with an annual budget of $11 million, is the largest fire department in the Lake Tahoe basin, employing 54 staff members and covering 17.3 square miles. The community has a permanent population of approximately 5,000 residents with peak periods exceeding 100,000 people. As assistant chief, Novak has been responsible for fire prevention and wildfire threat mitigation programs which have resulted in the creation of over 1,000 acres of fuel breaks around the community and widespread community participation in wildfire mitigation programs. He most recently led a collaborative wildfire threat mitigation team that includes the participation of 15 agencies.
Novak replaces Chief Mark Miller who left the department in November to head the Loveland Fire and Rescue Authority after serving as Vail’s chief since 2008. Steve Pischke, formerly with the Mountain View Fire Department in Longmont, has been serving as Vail’s interim fire chief since Nov. 3.
The Vail Fire Department has a budget of approximately $3.8 million and consists of 29 full-time staff, 10 student-resident firefighters and a five person seasonal wildland mitigation crew.
Novak and his wife Rebecca have three children ages 17, 15 and 11.