Fire Chief James Graham
BC Graham started his career as an intern firefighter with Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue in 1997. He has served the district in a multitude of positions including driver operator, deputy fire marshal, captain and battalion chief.
Away from work, James spends time on his farm with wife Catie and children Keeley and Gannon. He also enjoys time on his motorcycle, hunting and bowling.
Deputy Chief of Operations
This position is currently in the recruitment process.
Deputy Chief of Planning Jeremy Huff
Deputy Chief Huff, born and raised in Kelso “GO HILANDERS,” began with Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue as an intern in 1996 and was hired full time in March of 2003. After several years as a firefighter/paramedic, he was promoted to Lieutenant in 2011. In 2012 he was assigned as the Deputy Fire Marshal until his recent promotion to Deputy Chief of Planning in April of 2021.
Outside of work DC Huff enjoys camping anytime he can with his family, most of all camping at the beach. DC huff also enjoys traveling and seeing new sites with his family, and try’s to zip line at all the places they travel too.
Financial Analyst / Office Manager
Financial Analyst Ballinger has been with Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue since 1999. She started as a work study student through LCC and was hired full time shortly thereafter. She has earned two degrees, one in Business Administration and another in Accounting. She is currently the Financial Analyst/Office Manager for the district supervising the department’s admin support specialists, handling all aspects of the budget process, investments, payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, auditing and all financial oversight in general.
Brandi is also a National Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, earning this certification in 2001. She has been nationally recognized for her work in creating a safer community by ensuring children are traveling as safe as possible in a vehicle. She serves on the Safe Kids Executive Board as the Vice-Chair and began her involvement with them in 2001. She has not missed a single monthly car seat clinic since 2005.
Battalion Chief David Cooper
BC Cooper started his membership at Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue in 1997 as a high school Cadet during his senior year at Kelso High School. After graduation, he completed an internship and obtained his EMT certification. He graduated from Lower Columbia College in 2003 with an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science and also worked as a seasonal wildland firefighter. He attended Northwest Regional Training Center’s Paramedic program in Vancouver, Washington obtaining his National Paramedic certification in 2006. He started his full time career with Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue in March of 2006. He has worked as a Paramedic, Firefighter, Driver Operator, Shift Lieutenant, SWAT Paramedic, Training Specialist, and Fire Investigator. He also has assisted in instructing the high school Cadet Program as a Career and Technical Educator and instructed at Lower Columbia College’s Fire Science Program. He also has a passion for wildland firefighting and is currently a Strike Team Leader/ Task Force Leader. He was promoted to battalion chief in July of 2020.
He also volunteers as a White Pass Ski Patrol Paramedic and enjoys gallivanting around the region with other firefighters on his Harley.
Battalion Chief Kurt Stich
BC Stich started his fire service career in 1992 as a volunteer with Castle Rock Fire and EMS. In 1993 he began his journey into paramedicine and was hired full time while working to obtain his National Registry Paramedic certification in 1995. He served as a Lieutenant and later the Fire Chief for the City of Castle Rock until his move to Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue in 2002. Kurt has served as a firefighter /paramedic, Fire investigator and a Lieutenant with Cowlitz 2 until his promotion to Battalion Chief.
He is active in the wild land setting as many of our officers and has spent many summer seasons leading County Strike teams or as a Task Force Leader. Recently he began working with PNW Incident Management Team #7 as a Division Supervisor.
BC Stich is currently the Chair of the Washington State Training, Safety and Officers board which is a branch of the Washington State Fire Chief’s. He has spent many of his nearly 30 years in the fire service teaching in one capacity or another. For many of those years he has served as a Senior EMT instructor and has provided EMT instruction for many of our Cowlitz 2 employees as well as those in adjoining departments and Counties.
He has two daughters, Lindsey and Cassi, and two granddaughters, Rylee and Zoey. He enjoys traveling with his family to warmer locations, as well as spending time in the woods and camping.
Battalion Chief Joe Tone
BC Tone started his fire service career in 1998 as a fire cadet with Clark County Fire District 11. In 2000 he went to Woodland Fire Department where he served in nearly all operational and administrative roles including the City’s Fire Marshal and Interim Fire Chief. In 2010 he Joined Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue where he has worked in operations and serves on the department’s hazmat response team. He currently serves as the BC on C shift overseeing shift operations and provides oversight for our district’s maintenance division and apparatus purchasing. His educational background includes Lower Columbia College and the National Fire academy. He also serves as an Operations Branch Director on a Pacific NW Type 1 incident management team. His experience in incident management has taken him to multiple states to help manage disasters such as fires, floods, hurricanes, hazmat events and volcanic eruptions.
He lives in Woodland with his daughter Kensli. They enjoy nearly everything outdoors and traveling.
Battalion Chief Bert Thayer
BC Thayer began his career with Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue in May 1994 as a Firefighter/Paramedic, working his way up through the ranks to Battalion Chief. Bert came to the district with previous EMS, volunteer, wildland and teaching experience. Bert graduated from Oregon Health Sciences University Advanced Paramedic Program, returning to his alma mater as a part time instructor. Bert has also taught at University of California Davis Medical and Trauma Center, Doernbecher’s Children’s Hospital, Lower Columbia College and Peace Health St John Medical Center. He has worked through the NWCG 310-1 qualification system from Firefighter II to Operations Section Chief having become an instructor at each level. Bert has been deployed to incidents in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Colorado and Nebraska. He is a regional hazmat team leader and is the hazmat coordinator for our team. He is currently assigned to the Planning Section, and provides oversight for training, logistics, fire marshal duties, fire and life safety, health and safety and volunteer coordination.
He and his wife Lynn have four children, Jon, Guy, Brant and Jillian and one granddaughter Allison. He enjoys spending “papa” time with Allie and being outdoors flying, boating, ATV riding and SCUBA diving.