Hedi is the Executive Director for California Fire Safe Council. She grew up on the East Coast and started her career in Hollywood assisting industry leaders in various areas of talent representation and film development. Ms. Jalon most recently served as Executive Director at the non-profit organization, the California Fire Foundation for several years, and Director of Development and Communications for The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company, a theatre-arts non-profit. Hedi is committed to furthering the mission of the California Fire Safe Council, bringing a well-established background in both non-profits and private industries with nearly 15 years of leadership experience in core areas of large-scale organizational growth and management including fundraising, financial planning and management, community and external relations, communications and marketing, program and event management, board development, and community advocacy. Hedi holds both her BA and MPA degrees from the University of Southern California. When she is not at work, she enjoys a good game of chess, hiking, and spending time with her rescue dog Stewy.
Amber is the Clearinghouse Manager for California Fire Safe Council. She joined CFSC in 2003 as Grant Manager for the Coast Region after working for several years with local Fire Safe Councils in the Bay Area. Amber was promoted to Clearinghouse Administrator in 2009 and paved the way for significant upgrades to the Grants Clearinghouse in response to changing federal regulations and technology. Recently, Amber led a major upgrade of CFSC’s outdated grants system to new, improved grant management software. She manages the year-round Clearinghouse activities, from application to grant closeout and provides support to grantees and grant managers. A senior staff member, Amber has ten years of experience in helping to shape and improve CFSC’s efforts to meets its mission.
Amber holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Resource Management with an emphasis in fire ecology from the University of California at Davis. Her studies propelled her to travel after graduation throughout the U.S. with The Nature Conservancy promoting fire ecology on prescribed fire crews and as a fire management planner. Amber is a certified Master Gardener and enjoys hiking, camping, painting and of course, gardening
Michaela is the Executive Assistant for the California Fire Safe Council. She joined CFSC in July 2019 and brought with her over 20 years of experience in providing high-level administrative support to all management levels in all environments. Her organizational skills, positive can-do attitude, and professionalism have proven paramount since she arrived.
Her productive collaborations with other individuals have allowed her to build strong relationships that always enhanced all business objectives, both internally and externally.
Dan worked for the California Fire Safe Council as a grant specialist from July 2008 through March 2015, and then returned to the CFSC in October 2017.
Prior to that he worked for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) from 1967 to 2007 as a Firefighter, Fire Apparatus Engineer, Fire Captain, Battalion Chief, Division Chief, Deputy Chief, and Chief. From the start he was involved in fire prevention, defensible space, and hazardous fuel reduction projects. As a Division Chief he planned and directed many hazardous fuels reduction projects, utilizing both CCC and inmate conservation camp crews. As Deputy Chief he was responsible for several statewide fire prevention programs, including open burning, defensible space inspections, and powerline and railroad fire prevention. At various times during his 17 years as a Chief he oversaw the department’s statewide Conservation Camp Program, Fire Protection Operations Program, and Fleet Administration Program.
Becca has dedicated her career to service and improving the lives of others by working with programs to meet the needs of all Californians. She has experience working with nonprofits, the California State Assembly, was the Project Manager for the Youth Investment Center AmeriCorps program from 2015-2018 and was a Program and Compliance Officer for California Volunteers from 2018-2020. Becca brings experience with managing statewide programs, data analysis and development, overseeing budgets, legislative processes, advocacy, and supporting federally funded programs.
Thomas Shumaker comes to the California Fire Safe Council (CFSC) after having served five years as grants administrator for the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board (NMHRAB). Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Thomas attended undergraduate school at Ohio University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in history; he earned a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana; and received his doctoral degree from the University of New Mexico in 2018, with a specialization in early modern European and Ottoman history. Thomas is the proud father of Alexander and enjoys hiking and picnicking, fiddle playing, reading, and running. Dr. Shumaker has a passion for public service and is thrilled to be a part of the CFSC team.
Liron is a grant specialist and has worked for CFSC since 2009. She grew up in Humboldt County and studied forestry and range management at Humboldt State University. As a student she worked for the US Forest Service and the National Park Service. Liron believes that many people are afraid to manage their properties to be fire-adapted, because they think they will harm nature. She sees the projects that CFSC funds as an opportunity to demonstrate that the land can be managed to be fire-adapted and healthy at the same time. She looks forward to a day when all California residents support thinning, prescribed fire, and grazing methods to maintain fire-adapted communities.
Dave worked for the California Fire Safe Council from 2009 to 2011 as the North Coast grant specialist and recently returned in April 2021 as a senior grant specialist.
Dave has more than 25 years of federal grants experience serving local governments, nonprofits, corporations, and governing boards. Prior to joining (and re-joining) the CFSC, he worked for a large California public school district as their grant compliance officer, managing the district’s discretionary federal grants; he was the director of grant management for a national education reform nonprofit; and, most recently, was a self-employed federal grants consultant, managing a team of independent professionals that secured $200 million in federal funding and managed over $350 million in federal grants.
Dave is a California native. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in public administration from the University of Southern California and Golden Gate University respectively. In his spare time, he enjoys gaming (poorly) with his nephew, attending classic car auctions and watching baseball games (his goal is to visit all 30 MLB parks).
Julia grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and received her BA in History from Chatham University and her Master of Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. From there, she dove into the world of nonprofits and built a skill set that includes fundraising, grant writing, community outreach, strategic planning, advocacy, and digital marketing.
Julia is an avid outdoorswoman and has always been drawn to the mountains. A series of serendipitous events led her from Pittsburgh to a rural, California mountain community in 2019. She saw firsthand the looming threat of wildfire in her new home, inspiring her to join the local fire protection district’s board of directors and put her talents as a community advocate into action. She is thrilled to join the CFSC team as a Staff Grants Specialist and work within communities much like her own, helping to grow strong networks and unite people toward the common goal of building fire resilient communities.
Nina was previously a California Climate Action Corps fellow serving with CFSC and is now an Associate Grant Specialist in the Grants Clearinghouse department. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies with a Concentration in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is now currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Southern California in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST). Before joining CFSC, Nina conducted geospatial work on an Aerial Photo Project for UC Santa Cruz in their Digital Initiatives department and field work in rocky intertidal zones across the Northern and Central Coasts of California.
During her time as a fellow, Nina, along with her co-fellows, worked on a state-wide mapping project to identify communities most vulnerable to wildfire events to help direct targeted outreach in these areas. She also helped collect important information from past and current CFSC grantees about their impacts in communities and sustainability of their CFSC funded projects. In the last month of her fellowship, Nina assisted in planning a fuels reduction event with the Sierra Resource Conservation District at a property hoping to rebuild after the Creek Fire.
She is excited to bring her passion and interests into her new role at CFSC. She looks forward to supporting local fire mitigation organizations to build their capacity and complete successful projects.
Mike was born and raised in rural Northern California. He had a father who was in the U.S. Forest Service and a brother who was in Cal FIRE, and they had an influence on the career path that Mike chose. After high school, Mike went to work for the California Department of Forestry. After an assignment in Fire Prevention, Mike decided to pursue Law Enforcement. However, with fire in his blood, he eventually made his way to a Chief of Public Safety position with the opportunity to run a police and fire department. During his career, Mike has enjoyed the opportunity to be the Deputy Regional Administrator for the California Coastal region of Cal OES and he worked as a county emergency manager as well. Mike enjoys the outdoors and lives at Eagle Lake in Lassen County with his German Shephard, Jax!
Brooke has been hiking, backpacking, whitewater kayaking, snow shoeing, horseback riding, rock climbing and swimming throughout the Sierra’s all of her life, and now, she enjoys introducing her children to the beauty and adventures of California’s mountains. Brooke studied Natural Science at Sierra College and has been in Forestry in various capacities, from a ground patroller to a Supervisor and Project Coordinator, which is where she educated, field trained, and deployed teams of forestry crews. Brooke was deeply impacted after working on a remediation project in Paradise, CA, and Magalia, CA, following their devastating fire, and she feels strongly about California’s fire safety. Brooke is committed to contributing to the education and advocacy of protecting our wonderful California communities!
Britney Munoz is an experienced, integral leader for Fire Safe Councils. For several years prior to her Resource Conservation District position as the San Diego Fire Safe Council Coordinator, she worked as a strategic outreach planner and spokesperson, so public relations and communications remain a natural, clear role for her.
Britney is a true Fire Safe Council ambassador who is always working to improve and disseminate FSC community wildfire protection plans (CWPPs) and fuel prevention and mitigation projects, as well as establishing local Fire Safe Councils, and transforming residents’ awareness though fire safety education. She works tirelessly to ensure the safety of her community, especially through an always-active wildfire preparedness season and as fires worsen in intensity and frequency.
A respected leader with many wildfire agencies in San Diego, Britney is poised to continue that role and advance planning and partnerships at the statewide level.
Lara Popyack is the Communications and Outreach Coordinator and comes to the CFSC with more than 20 years of film, television, and digital media experience. With a background in storytelling, Lara has worked on a wide variety of projects from National Geographic and Spanish Television to Make-A-Wish and World Central Kitchen. Most recently Lara worked with firefighters on creating content for behavioral health in the fire service and active shooter drills and training for responding agencies. She was also the producer of the award-winning, multi-lingual campaign for Firefighters on Your Side video series from California Fire Foundation. She believes her work at CFSC is critical to reach the under-resourced communities to educate, and inspire change for wildfire mitigation, and prevention.
A dynamic and motivated professional, Richard has a proven record of generating and building relationships, managing projects from concept to completion, ensuring fiscal responsibility, designing educational strategies, and coaching individuals to success. In his most recent role as CEO at Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley & Northern Nevada, Richard transformed culture and employee morale, spearheaded organizational restructuring, increased revenue opportunities by nearly $20MM, and built lasting programs to fill community gaps. His career has included recruiting, business development, real estate, training, program/project management, development and delivery, management of multi-functional work teams and therapeutic intervention with pharmaceutical drug delivery and repurposing. With over 20 years in the nonprofit sector, Richard is a proven leader focused on strategies, techniques and team-based approaches that increase revenue, control risk, preserve capital and expand market share. Richard lives in midtown with his partner, Kenny, and enjoys music, food and surrounding himself with genuine people. He lives his life through the mantra of “Everyone you meet is facing a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.
Jamie is a nature loving, California raised accountant. Jamie spent her childhood years living in the Bay Area then moved to Sacramento with her family in 2001. She attended Sacramento State and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration: Accounting Concentration. Throughout her college years, Jamie was involved in youth programming through nonprofit events and various community services. Her passion for the community and nonprofits led to her experience with small business and nonprofit accounting. Having grown up in California, the preservation of nature is a priority to Jamie. Jamie’s happy place is camping with her family. A perfect day for her would be sitting out on the grass, having her feet in the sand, and enjoying a great view! On one of her nature getaways in 2020, Jamie experienced an evacuated from the Creek Fire area while on a trip visiting Mono Hot Springs. This experience, along with the rest of the 2020 wildfire season emergencies, contributed to Jamie’s desire to join California Fire Safe Council. She wants our future CA generations to be able to enjoy all the beautiful nature, as well as to have the ability to breathe in the fresh air.
Sara Kniss comes to CFSC with successful experiences in business management, customer service, and program coordination. Sara worked for the Ventura Regional Fire Safe Council where she coordinated events, assisted with grant proposals and applications, and prepared grant reports and budgets. Born and raised in Ventura, CA, Sara Kniss has grown up around the realization that wildfires are common occurrences in California. With her father’s background in GIS, Cartography, and Infrared Mapping, the fire world has always been close to home. It, unfortunately, came a little too close to home during the Thomas Fire in 2017. As a result of this experience, Sara is driven to be involved in wildfire preparedness and to make a difference in communities.
Megan Katich is the Communications and Outreach Assistant. Prior to joining the CFSC she worked as a wildland firefighter, NREMT, tour manager and creative director. She studied Emergency Management at Northern Arizona University, with an emphasis on Incident Command Systems, interagency collaborations and hazard mitigation. Her passions include outdoor advocacy, wilderness restoration and community integration. She hopes that her creative background and hands-on experience as a wildland firefighter will help facilitate community collaboration and increased resiliency across all of California.
Stephanie joined the CFSC after a 30+ year career in the insurance arena. As a native Californian, born and raised in the Los Angeles area, Stephanie spent time in San Diego, Irvine, Bakersfield, and Visalia before finally landing in Sacramento after moving her way up the state. She then opened her own insurance agency where her team was able to help their clients ensure that everything important to them was protected, and (far too often) was able to help manage the devastating consequences of wildfire that many had to endure. In late 2020, Stephanie opted for a career change, providing administrative assistance to a family of non-profit organizations that support our local unhoused population and disadvantaged youth. Stephanie has consistently participated in many community events and fundraisers such as the NorCal Aids Ride, the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention Out of The Darkness Walks, and the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber Foundation Scholarship Program. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, basically any outdoor activity, and is an avid music lover with a passion for traveling to various venues near and far to see her favorite musicians.
Hello! My name is Rachel Ostrander, and I am excited to be a fellow at CFSC as a part of the California Climate Action Corp. I am a recent graduate from Humboldt State University and studied Environmental Science and Management with a concentration in Ecological Restoration. During my time as a student, I was the Program Manager of WRRAP (Waste Reduction and Resource Awareness Program) and the Team Lead of Green Campus. I interned with Humboldt State’s Natural History Museum and taught K-8th graders over zoom. I enjoy backpacking, camping, and river rafting. I love living in Humboldt County and am excited to work with CFSC because I want to learn how to protect my community from wildfires while expressing the need for fire, and its role in our environment.
Sarah is a Climate Action Corps fellow partnered with the California Fire Safe Council. Sarah is originally from Orange County, CA but moved up to Humboldt County in 2019. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science and Management with a focus in Ecological Restoration from Humboldt State University. With the experience of living in both southern and northern California, she has seen the wide effects that wildfires have on different communities. Since early 2020, she has been a long-term volunteer with California State Parks in the north coast district focusing on invasive species removal. She is excited to work with the CFSC to learn from and help more communities deal with the growing threat of severe wildfires.You can usually find her hanging out along the ocean or with the trees.
Lillian is a Climate Action Corps AmeriCorps Fellow focusing on Programs & Outreach in the Northern Region. Before coming to CFSC, Lillian explored engineering for a sustainable world through building energy auditing and renewable energy feasibility analysis, and she worked in the semiconductor test industry. She is inspired to transition her career to focus on environmental equity and local climate action in urban planning. At CFSC, she’s excited to learn from and about Northern Californian communities vulnerable to wildfire and support inclusive and equitable outreach efforts in the region. Lillian studied general engineering and literature at Harvey Mudd College.
Her number one wildfire preparedness tip (as someone who doesn’t live in the WUI) is to acquire N95 masks before fire season to protect lungs from smoke and to practice community care; she has engaged in mutual aid efforts to distribute masks in her community during fire season & the COVID pandemic.
Marcus grew up in Orange County, California, experiencing first-hand the impacts of wildfires ever since he was young. He received a B.S. in Environmental Science from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he explored his passion for the environment and sustainability. Marcus is excited to utilize his experience in research, data analysis and community outreach to aid in making California the leader in community wildfire risk reduction and resiliency.
Mason Thurmond is excited to serve as a Climate Action Corps fellow partnered with California FireSafe Council. She has enjoyed spending over six years as an outdoor educator for Southern California youth with the organizations All It Takes, Pali Institute, and Community Nature Connection. Prior to instructing full-time, she conducted algae, coffee agroecology, and honeybee learning research at UC San Diego. She looks forward to contributing her analytical expertise to the position. Mason is deeply interested in synthesizing her education and research experience in work that benefits and protects all Californians from wildfire, especially those made most vulnerable amongst us by our changing climate.
Nina is one of the California Climate Action Corps Fellows with the California Fire Safe Council. She was born and raised in Orange County, CA, where she attended Orange Coast Community College and received her A.S. in Biology. Later, she transferred to the University of California, Santa Cruz. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz in June of 2020 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Concentration in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). During her time at UC Santa Cruz, she helped write a campus sustainability guide to encourage more sustainable practices at the institutional and individual levels. She also interned in an intertidal lab where she worked on a mussel growth project that led to her senior thesis on Analyzing Growth Rates of the California Mussel, Mytilus Californianus. She previously worked for UC Santa Cruz in their Digital Collections Department on an Aerial Photo Project where she utilized the Esri ArcGIS software to create index maps of archived aerial photos.In her free time, she enjoys hiking, climbing, reading, cooking, or spending time at the beach! She is very excited to be working with CFSC helping communities most at risk of wildfires.
Ellie is a Climate Action Corps fellow whose past experience includes media archiving and production design for film and TV. She has a B.A. in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Ellie lives in Northeast Los Angeles and in her free time enjoys gardening with native plants and reading food writing.
United States Forest Service
Bureau of Land Management — U.S. Department of the Interior