Jim Mathias is a Nevada County native but has a diverse background working for fire agencies throughout California. Jim started his fire service career as a volunteer with the City of Grass Valley Fire Department in 1986 and retired in 2022 as the Assistant Chief for Northern Operations of the CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit. Throughout his career, he has worked for Sierra Nevada Ambulance as a paramedic for over 30 years, retiring in 2023 as the most senior active Paramedic in the SSV-EMS Region. His professional fire service career started with Penn Valley Fire Protection District as an Engineer/Paramedic and later with CAL FIRE in 1997 having assignments in San Mateo-Santa Cruz and Amador-El Dorado. He has been part of CAL FIRE’s Type I Incident Command Teams and Serious Accident Review Teams as well as developing and updating curriculum for California’s State Fire Training.
While working at CAL FIRE, Jim has been assigned to multiple large scale wildland fires throughout the state and was the Incident Commander for many of the large fires in and around Nevada and Yuba Counties in recent years. He was also in charge of the Washington Ridge Hand Crews and the California National Guard Hand Crew based in Nevada City.
Jim has been married for 35 years and benefits from 4 boys, now men, and 6 grandchildren. He is an active participant in the community, volunteering with committees both in the South County Government and the Higgins Fire District. He also proudly assists Bear River High School serving as the Bruins’ Offensive and Defensive Line QC Coach.