SA fire chief quits to return to the UK

·1-min read

South Australia's Country Fire Service Chief Officer Mark Jones has quit to return to the United Kingdom.

Mr Jones will leave the CFS at the end of his current three-year contract in September.

He is expected to become the Chief Fire Officer of the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service in England, though that position is yet to be confirmed.

Emergency Services Minister Joe Szakacs said like many people who came to work in SA, Mr Jones had expected to be able to return regularly to the UK to see family and friends.

But he said the COVID-19 pandemic and border closures had dashed those expectations.

Mr Jones also indicated his return to the UK was for family reasons.

"While I have really enjoyed the challenges of the work and great people I have met in South Australia, the distance from our family in the United Kingdom has been a heavier burden than we expected," he said.

"I have been truly lucky to have had the unique experience of working with the great staff and volunteers of the CFS that are the lifeblood of the organisation."

Mr Jones was appointed to lead the CFS in 2019 and spearheaded the response to the widespread bushfires that summer, including those in the Adelaide Hills and across Kangaroo Island.

Mr Szakacs said he would be saddened to see him go.

"Mark Jones led the CFS with poise and professionalism through the significant fire season of 2019 and continued his role gallantly to this day," the minister said.

A search for his replacement has already begun.

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