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Tahoe assistant chief hired by Vail Fire Department

Staff Reports
Assistant Chief Mark Novak of the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District gives instructions to Fernley and Lyon County firefighters during the Clear Creek Fire in mid-July at Fuji Park .
Brad Coman / Nevada Appeal | Brad Coman / Nevada Appeal

The operations chief for the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District has been named the new chief of a Colorado department.

Mark A. Novak, 48, will begin full-time employment with Vail, Colo., on Feb. 2, 2015. He was selected from a field of 105 candidates during a national search process which included six finalists.

“I’m extremely honored to have been given the opportunity to serve the citizens and visitors of Douglas County and the Lake Tahoe Basin for the past 24 years,” Novak said Friday. “It is difficult to leave a great organization like the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District. In leaving, it is comforting to know that the Tahoe Douglas Fire District has a strong leadership team in place, ready to take on new challenges. I am also thankful for the opportunity to work with the employees of many cooperating agencies. The amount of collaboration that occurs in our region in the pursuit of serving the public is remarkable.”



Novak 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 masters of public administration program at American Military University.

The Tahoe fire district has an $11 million budget, employs 54 staff members and covers Douglas County’s 17.3 square miles of Lake Tahoe. The community has a permanent population of approximately 5,000 residents that exceeds 100,000 people at times.



Novak’s familiarity with working in a resort community, and his wide range of training, education and practical experience, makes him well suited to lead Vail’s Fire Department, said Vail Town Manager Stan Zemler.

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.

“I am excited for the opportunity to continue public service with the Vail Fire Department,” Novak said. “I am looking forward to working with the employees of the Vail Fire Department and the citizens of Vail to provide the highest level of public service. The Town of Vail is a vibrant community, which I am confident will provide many new opportunities, both personally and professionally.”

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.

“The South Shore has been an amazing place to live and raise a family,” he said. “I am thankful for the experiences that I have had here and the many wonderful people that I have had the opportunity to meet.”