SWEETWATER COUNTY – Sweetwater County was introduced to the newest member of the team at the Sweetwater County Commission meeting on Tuesday. Mike Bournazian will be taking his place as the leader of the Sweetwater County Fire Department on March 23.
“I’m excited to open a new challenge and new chapter in my career,” Bournazian said on his new role as Fire Warden. “I look forward to continuing the process in place in Sweetwater County.”
Bournazian brings 27 years of experience to the county. He joined the fire service as a volunteer firefighter in 1987 in the Sierras in California. He has served as the Fire Training Specialist for the Wyoming State Forestry Division and as a volunteer firefighter with Fremont County Fire Protection District in Riverton for the last eight years.
Bournazian currently resides in Lander with his wife Wendy of 18 years and their four children, 15-year-old McKenna, 14-year-old Wyatt, 11-year-old Kelton and Chandler who is nine-years-old. They are waiting patiently for the current school year to be completed before they make the final move as a family to Sweetwater County to join Mike in his new role as fire warden.
Mike credits the appointment of his new position to the support and commitment he has received as both a paid and volunteer in the fire service which spans five states and 16 different departments and agencies in the Western United States.
Head of the County Human Resource Department Garry McLean’ said his experience working with the forestry department and Bureau of Land Management is important. He explained part of the role of the Sweetwater County Fire Warden is working closely with these other agencies and Bournazian brings that experience to the table.
Commission Chairman Wally Johnson agreed noting 70 percent of the land in Sweetwater County is federal land.
Along the way, Bournazian has held about every position possible from firefighter to Fire Chief in the fire service. He has received the Firefighter of the Year award from three different departments. He also was honored with the Meritorious Award from the state of Wyoming along with numerous acknowledgements and recommendations for his work on major wildland fires and natural disasters across the west.
Bournazian has an extensive background in wildland fire management and training. He has served on National Incident Management Teams in the Rocky Mountain regions since 2005. He holds several qualifications in operations and logistics and as a wildland fire investigator in addition to being a Type 3 Incident Commander.
Mike is also Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Area Coordinating Group’s Training Committee and serves on the State of Wyoming L.A.S.T. Team that supports families of firefighters who suffer a line of duty death.
Bournazian has represented the Wyoming State Firefighters Association and the Wyoming State Fire Chiefs Association as Director of Wyoming on the National Volunteer Fire Council Board of Directors since 2011.
County Public Works Director John Radosevich explained the process they used to fill the vacant position. The county advertised the position and had “numerous” applications. The county then narrowed down the list and did interviews with the top candidates. Among those in the hiring committee was Sweetwater County Commissioner Randall Wendling.
Johnson welcomed Bournazian saying he appreciated his decision to come to Sweetwater County. Bournazian said he looks forward to working with the commissioners and other departments in the county.