Following in his father’s footsteps, Eric Peterson was sworn in Tuesday as Santa Barbara County’s new fire chief.

Peterson, a 28-year veteran of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, took the oath of office from county Chief Executive Officer Mona Miyasato during the county Board of Supervisors meeting.

Peterson’s father, Richard R. Peterson, served as county fire chief in the 1980s and 1990s, and was the Santa Barbara City Fire Department chief before that. He spent nearly three decades in the fire service.

Eric Peterson replaces Michael Dyer, who retired after serving in the position since 2009.

Peterson was born and raised in Santa Barbara County, and started his career with the department in 1987, making him a veteran of the Painted Cave, Tea and Jesusita fires, according to a county statement.

During that time, Peterson has served as a fire captain, battalion chief, division chief, fire marshal, and deputy fire chief, as well as union president from 1995 to 2005.   

Peterson has an associate’s degree from Santa Barbara City College, a bachelor’s degree in public safety administration from Charter Oak State College, and is completing a master’s degree in public administration from California State University at Northridge.

He and his wife, Kit, have 5-year-old twins.   

Peterson will lead a department that supports 16 fire stations, 258 positions and an annual operating budget of $60 million.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Tom Bolton, Noozhawk Executive Editor

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at