No. 27: Capitol Weekly’s Top 100

Illustration by Chris Shary

27. Thom Porter

Thom Porter is Gov. Gov. Newsom’s top fire fighter, a daunting task in a state which seems to face huge fires every summer and into the fall, sparked in part by the impacts of climate change. Porter is director of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, and his job is to coordinate the state’s response to the fires. No easy feat: Thus far this year, there have been nearly 5,600 fires burning a total of 460,000 acres. An interesting factoid: Porter was in a 90-second video in 2009 produced by Greenpeace that laid out the dangers of climate change. Porter was remarkably prescient, but he has the chops: He was a timber industry forester in Washington and Oregon, where he developed timber harvesting plans and coordinated prescribed burns, and he’s a registered professional forester. He’s got a degree in forestry management from UC Berkeley.

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