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For the first time in county history, a woman has been appointed to be the permanent Anne Arundel fire chief.
County Executive Steuart Pittman announced Friday he has chosen Spokane Assistant Fire Chief Trisha Wolford to head the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. She will start early next year.
The appointment of Wolford is a homecoming. She began her fire service career in Anne Arundel County in 2006, serving for 10 years in the fire department as a firefighter, paramedic, company officer, arson and explosives investigator, internal investigator and tactical police medic.
“Trisha Wolford served our county with distinction for ten years, and then made a name for herself at the National Fire Academy, first in the Executive Fire Officer Program and then as a consultant to the Academy,” said Pittman. “We needed a leader for this department with both institutional knowledge and a vision based on best practices across the country. Chief Wolford has all of that combined with a strong passion to serve the communities of Anne Arundel County.”
On December 18, current Fire Chief Allan Graves submitted his resignation, effective on December 31.
“I join all Anne Arundel County residents in thanking Chief Graves for his service,” said Pittman. “He served the department and the county with honor and I wish him well in the future.”
The new chief of the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services was formally announced during a press conference in Columbia on Tuesday, Dec. 18. Howard County Fire Chief Christine M. Uhlhorn is the first woman to lead the department.
Uhlhorn is a 29-year veteran of the fire service and third-generation firefighter who has worked to “break barriers,” according to Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. She is a past president of the St. Florian’s Brigade, an organization designed to attract young women to fire service careers.
As she rose through the ranks before being promoted to assistant chief in 2016, Uhlhorn held various roles such as Fire Officer Association president and Safe Kids coordinator.
Uhlhorn is a third-generation firefighter who has spent her entire career in Howard County, working most recently as an assistant chief.
She’s not planning any immediate changes, but she wants to keep the department moving forward and fully staffed.
“With succession planning and so many people leaving, we’re losing a lot of people. So we’re going to have to make sure we fill those positions, and a lot of them are leadership positions, so we have to reach out to our members now and the future generations to step up and be in those leader positions,” Uhlhorn said