With over 40 years in fire service, Chief Sager served as a firefighter, Captain, training officer, Chief Officer, and Fire Chief. He started his career as a member of a pickup firefighter crew for the US Forest Service in 1964. He then went on to complete his college education and serve in the US Navy. He retired from the US Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant in 1977.

In 1971, he received an appointment with CAL FIRE in their trainee program. He then went on to serve as a firefighter, engineer, Fire Captain, and training officer in Fresno County. In 1976, he received an appointment as a field Battalion Chief in Butte County. He held this rank until 1985, when he received a promotion to Division Chief in charge of administrative services in Butte County for the CAL FIRE Butte Unit and the Butte County Fire Department. He switched to field operations in 1990 when he took over responsibility for the south half of the Butte Unit and Butte County Fire Department. During this time, he was instrumental in developing automatic aid agreements with the City of Oroville and other adjacent fire departments. He also negotiated the cooperative agreements whereby CAL FIRE provided the staffing for the fire departments under contract in the Cities of Gridley and Biggs. In 1999, the Director of CAL FIRE appointed Chief Sager as the Butte Unit Chief and Fire Chief for Butte County and the Cities of Biggs and Gridley.

Chief Sager has a bachelor of science degree in Forestry, with a minor in Landscape Architecture, from the University of California, Berkeley. He holds a lifetime, limited service California community college teaching credential in fire science. He has completed numerous community college credits in fire protection and law enforcement training, as well as other course work in fire protection.

Chief Sager is certified as Fire Chief and Chief Officer by the California State Board of Fire Services, and he is a designated Chief Fire Officer by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. He is recipient of the Governor’s Employee Safety Award and the State of California Supervisory Superior Accomplishment Award. He served as Incident Commander for CAL FIRE Type 1 Incident Management Team #6 for three years.

Chief Sager was a member of the Oroville City Planning Commission, was previously the president of the Butte County Fire Chiefs Association, served as chairman of the Butte County Government Council, and served as chairperson for a number of CAL FIRE committees and task forces, including The Changing Face of CDF—Retention and Promotion and the Case Management Task Force. He has been involved in developing training materials for firefighters and fire officers at the local, state, and national levels, including the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group in Boise, Idaho.

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“I really want to express my appreciation for this work that’s been done in a collaborative way in which the study was put together. . . . I’ve seen a number of studies start in the fire department and this is the first one I can remember that has actually been fully completed and brought to the council, and it was done in a very thorough fashion. This is the best assemblage of comprehensive information about the fire department today, as well as what our needs might be in the future, that I have seen. So thanks to everyone. Thank you, Stewart, for giving us our money’s worth on our consultant contract with you.”

Ken Hampian

City Manager City of San Luis Obispo

“I am really, really impressed. I am impressed at the exhaustiveness of your study, impressed at the honesty and candor with which you expressed your findings; I am very impressed at the constructive tone of it, and that you came in under budget as well. So, thank you very much. I think that this document is going to be a cornerstone for us really moving forward for the next five, ten, twenty [years], half a century.”

Luke Garrott

Salt Lake City Council Meeting

“I wanted to offer my compliments to Citygate, to Mr. Gary for this very comprehensive report.”

John Ashbaugh

San Luis Obispo Council Member

“I really, really enjoyed reading your Word product. I appreciate the fact that it was direct, it was constructive, and . . . it wasn’t finger-pointing, it was just . . . the facts. And I think that the money was well spent.”

J.T. Martin

Salt Lake City Council Meeting

“Thank you very much for a comprehensive report. Thank you.”


Palm Springs

“I was absolutely thrilled with the report because it was very comprehensive, very detailed. I call it the ‘time-in-motion study’ almost and some of the aspects [are] ‘how does your paper flow? How can you make your processes better? . . . As a government agency, how can we provide better service to the constituents?’ And to us we think that this study identifies those things down to all of the small paper processes and flows.”

Rita Geldert

Retired City Manager City of Vista, CA

“Thank you so much for this training. This was the best PIO training I’ve ever received.”

Lorrie Brewer

S-403 Information Officer class participant

“Thank you so much for all you have done. And it’s so comprehensive, I know it’s going to take a while for us to digest it all, but I think you’ve come up with some really good recommendations.”


Pro Tempore City of Vista, CA

“I think Citygate has done a great job. It seems like you’ve been most thorough and even-handed in your evaluations and you’ve given us certainly a lot of suggestions and guidelines to work with.”

Council Member

City of Vista, CA

“I think this is one of the most comprehensive reports and I think probably one of the best presented reports I’ve seen in my years in government service. I want to start off by commending you for that and acknowledge that the work that you were able to do with cooperation from all of the different firefighting agencies in this region was second-to-none.”

Greg Cox

Supervisor First District San Diego County


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