Truckee welcomes new fire chief |

Truckee welcomes new fire chief

Photo by David Bunker/Sierra Sun Bryce Keller, a Truckee resident, will take over as chief of the Truckee Fire Protection District at the first of the year.

Starting Jan. 2, the Truckee Fire Protection District will be out with the old and in with the new ” fire chief that is.

Truckee fire Chief Mike Terwilliger announced his retirement late this summer after serving Truckee for nearly 10 years, and taking his place will be Bryce Keller, a Truckee resident. Keller is the current fire marshall and division chief in charge of prevention and administration at the North Tahoe Fire Protection District.

“Terwilliger has had great people to work with, from the support staff to the frontline responders. And with his guidance, Truckee Fire has become a great organization,” Keller said. “I want to continue that and build on it.”

Keller, 49, will be entering the Truckee district with more than 30 years of fire protection experience, starting as a volunteer while still in high school. He then worked for the California Department of Forestry for more than 25 years, including a stint as a battalion chief at the Donner Summit Fire Department.

“He’s an extremely well qualified individual,” said Duane Whitelaw, fire chief for the North Tahoe Fire Protection District. “I think his education and experience make him very well suited, and the Truckee community will be well served to have someone of Bryce’s caliber.”

In his new position, Keller will oversee about 50 fire personnel and manage a $5.3 million budget. And with the annexation of the Donner Summit Fire Department, he will be responsible for eight fire stations and more than 130 square miles of territory from Nyack to the state line.

Keller, who said he works hard and plays hard, is an avid horseman

and skier. He is married to Phyllis Keller, and his daughter Kaylyn is a freshman at Tahoe Truckee High School.

Keller will step into his new position at the first of the year, and

Terwilliger will remain for a few weeks to help ease the transition. After that, Terwilliger says he intends to close the book on three decades of fire service and “fade away.”

He and his wife recently purchased the Buttes Resort in the Sierra Buttes and are planning on focusing their energy there.

“I’ve had my run and am now looking forward to being an inn keeper,” Terwilliger said. “We’re really having fun over there, and I would love to encourage people from Truckee to come over and stay.”

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