Firewise USA is a voluntary program that provides a framework to help neighborhoods of all different sizes become organized, find direction, and take action to become more adaptive to wildfire by increasing the ignition resistance of their homes and community.

Anne-Marie Parkinson
Executive Director

Hired in September 2021, Anne-Marie was SBCFSC’s first-ever staff member! Anne-Marie works with communities to build strong networks so they can increase their capacity to prepare, respond, and recover from wildfires. After almost losing her home in the 2007 San Diego Witch Creek Fire she has been passionate about wildfire education so communities are prepared for when, not if, the next wildfire occurs. Anne-Marie earned her Master’s from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB in 2021. She has several years of experience in fire ecology and previously worked as a Research Associate for UCSB leading projects in chaparral and conifer forests studying post-fire regeneration and the influence of environmental conditions on burn severity. In her free time, she enjoys SCUBA diving and spearfishing with friends off the beautiful Santa Barbara coast.




Gustavo Agredano
Community Wildfire Resilience Associate

In his current role, Gustavo’s focus is to work with local communities in informing and assisting them in the process of becoming a Firewise USA community while supporting the already established Firewise communities. His goals and aspirations for the near future are to create more resilient communities by reaching out to Santa Barbara’s most vulnerable residents so they can be part of our ongoing mission to make everyone fire ready through our programs. What drives Gustavo is his passion to educate all communities about emergency preparedness.

Away from the office, Gustavo continues to share with his community the importance of being prepared for potential wildfires. Being bilingual in English and Spanish, as well as his extensive experience working in emergency preparedness programs in California and in Santa Barbara in different roles with multicultural, bilingual families makes him an important asset to our Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council team. In his free time, Gustavo loves to spend time with his wife, two daughters, his German Shepard, and his Siberian Husky.

Please feel free to reach out to Gustavo Agredano to obtain information about our Firewise USA program:


Kevin Varga
Part-time Project Manager

After spending four years in a rural New York volunteer fire department during college, Kevin realized he could combine his love of hiking and firefighting as a wildland firefighter. He spent one season on an engine crew in Eureka, NV, and quickly realized that our current wildfire management strategies were not sustainable. This realization inspired him to attend graduate school, which landed him in sunny Santa Barbara. Early in his second year of a Ph.D. program in the UCSB Geography Department, Kevin decided to get more involved in community wildfire mitigation by volunteering as the Treasurer of the Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council (SBC FSC). When the SBC FSC was looking for a part-time project manager to oversee a CAL FIRE Regional Wildfire Mitigation Program (RWMP) grant, Kevin applied and was hired in July 2022. He now helps coordinate wildfire educational events, disadvantaged community focus groups, and the creation of a home-hardening web portal. In his free time, Kevin loves being outdoors: biking, skiing, diving, boating, backpacking, running, you name it.



Kian Brouwer
Administrative Office Professional and Communications Coordinator

Hired in September 2022, Kian is the 3rd full-time employee for the Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council. Kian works with all aspects of the SBCFSC, handling administrative tasks as they arise, and managing the various forms of communication we have as an organization, and with the public.

Kian grew up in Venice, California, and was fortunate to receive a swimming scholarship to UCSB after graduating high school. In his time on UCSB men’s swimming, he was team captain for two years, earned the team’s scholar award his senior year, and has multiple top times. He graduated in June 2022 with a BA in English and focuses on creative writing and environmental literature. Kian spent the past five summers working as an Ocean Lifeguard and EMT for the LA County Fire Department and was a volunteer for Santa Barbara City Fire Department during his senior year. He became interested in wildfire management while being stuck in his dorm room during the 2018 Thomas fire. In his free time, Kian enjoys surfing, camping, and woodworking.



Kate Furlong
Community Chipping and Grazing Project Manager

Kate is our newest hire, joining the SBCFSC team at the end of January 2023 to manage the new Community Chipping and Prescribed Grazing Programs. Kate earned her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Resource Management with a minor in Biology from CSU Channel Islands and has years of experience in fire ecology, habitat restoration, invasive species management, and community education.

Born and raised in Ventura, CA, Kate is passionate about protecting this region from the devastating impacts of catastrophic wildfires while also encouraging adaptive management to help protect the people, infrastructure, wildlife, and ecosystems in Santa Barbara. After almost losing her family home in the Thomas Fire and dealing with the aftermath while managing nature preserves in Ventura, Kate turned her direction to fire prevention. She is excited to be able to empower the residents of Santa Barbara County to transform their neighborhoods into more fire-adapted communities and also to have the opportunity to get to hang out with her favorite animals, sheep!

When not at work, Kate likes to cook, spend time with friends and family, experience live music, and spend her time with her German Shepherd/Akita mix Brando.


Trace Lane Sykes
Part-Time Firewise Research Associate

Trace Sykes is an interdisciplinary climate resilience specialist who studies relationships between people and climate change. Her work is focused on connecting different epistemologies of knowledge about the environment through anti-colonial frameworks to produce equitable climate resilience solutions. Trace has a long history of social justice research, activism, non-profit management, and program design.

As the Climate Resilience Associate for the Community Environmental Council, Trace specializes in
conducting community-based action research and designing programmatic responses for extreme heat resilience, resilience hubs, and wildfire resilience. Trace’s relationship with water began in unrecognized urban India, where she worked as a socio-legal water researcher on a landmark water rights case for the Human Rights Commission of Maharashtra. She continued this relationship with water as a socio-political researcher for nature-based solutions to water contamination in informal floating communities on the Peruvian Amazon, then studied the identity of water from local perspectives in the Peruvian Amazon, highlands, and coastal areas. In 2017, she founded The Story Labs, non-profit organization which houses a digital storytelling program that combines story with science to encourage a deeper understanding of how the environment is changing and why it matters. Through The Story Labs, Trace supports indigenous communities through the process of designing climate resilience plans. Trace holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Psychology from Athens State University, a master’s degree in Social Work Administration, Policy, and Research from the University of Chicago, and a master’s degree in Political Science & Public Affairs from the University of Alabama. She is a doctoral candidate at East Carolina University + University of Washington in the Integrated Coastal Sciences Program where her research is focused on bridging the knowledge held within surf communities of indigenous descent with conventional climate science in ways that disrupt colonial, gendered power dynamics through digital storytelling and community science.


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