Carrie Bowers, fire science meteorologist here at SDG&E, has always had a love of challenge and adventure.
“I wanted to be a Ninja!,” Carrie exclaimed, laughing. “I had two brothers, and so we always were doing the spy thing, climbing in trees, and so… I didn’t ever think I was going to be a firefighter. I didn’t ever think I was going to be a meteorologist. As I got older and realized maybe being a Ninja was not where I was headed, I focused on my love of science. It’s been a wild ride, just following whatever my heart is telling me to do.”
Carrie found her passion for doing work that saves lives by starting as a lifeguard. She later got her Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification and was inspired by the camaraderie of firefighters during ride-alongs. While she worked toward her fire science degree intending to pursue a career with the San Diego Fire Department, she got some advice that ended up shaping the next decade of her life and beyond.
“My best friend’s dad was the fire chief for Cleveland National Forest and said, ‘You don’t want to do that city stuff – you want to be a wildland firefighter,’” Carrie reminisced. “So, I applied, and I loved it! After two summers, I became a full-time, year-round wildland firefighter.”
(Carrie Bowers working as a wildland firefighter at Klamath National Forest)
Carrie’s firefighting career brought her to several locations with the U.S. Forest Service, including Cleveland National Forest near San Bernardino, Los Padres National Forest in the Bakersfield area, and Klamath National Forest near the Oregon border before she decided to change course.
“After nine years of sleeping on the ground and being away all summer long – it was time to move on and do something different,” she reflected. “I decided to pursue my degree in meteorology and hope I’d find the right job.”
(Carrie Bowers in the SDG&E Weather Center)
At SDG&E, Carrie has been able to apply her weather and fire behavior expertise to prevent wildfires in our region, as well as once again experience the fulfillment that comes with working closely with team mates who share her mission.
“Being this close to each other in the weather center, all day long, every single day – it really does build a relationship and a friendship,” said Carrie. “We also have our fire coordinators that we work closely with, and having come from fire, we speak the same language; we’re all ex-firefighters. It’s a camaraderie that is really great to have.”
(Carrie’s Fire Science and Climate Adaptation coworkers working in the SDG&E Weather Center)
Carrie’s role at SDG&E is to use her weather and fire behavior expertise to communicate with our leadership, as well as with our fire coordinators who communicate with local fire agencies.
“When you’ve seen it for yourself, and you’ve seen how fire acts in certain areas, especially having fought fire in these areas - it’s like having a slideshow in your head,” said Carrie. “You can explain it to our leadership and explain what you would expect. It also allows us to communicate better with fire agencies in San Diego County – to help keep our firefighters and the public safe.”
If you’d like to learn more about the work Carrie and her team do for wildfire mitigation, check out our documentary, “Everything in Our Power” here.