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Chris Klahn

Position: Director
Fire Department
Montello Fire Department
Portrait of Chris Klahn

The seeds of the Fire Service were planted early for Chris by growing up a block from the Portage Fire Department.  Visiting the station, talking with the firefighters on duty, and taking “warm-up” rides on the fire trucks were all inspiring events for a youngster.  After college and achieving full-time employment as a dozer operator in Wildland Fire Control with the Department of Natural Resources, Chris was finally able to begin a career in fire.  Being stationed in Minong meant joining the Minong Fire Department in 1985.  It was an exciting time. The Minong Area Ambulance Service needed help so Chris also began as an EMT, a license he held for 25 years. 

Chris was promoted to a Forest Ranger job at the busiest wildland fire station in the state in Montello in 1988 and joined the Montello Fire Department. He has served in every position on the MFD for over 30+ years except Chief. He currently serves as Deputy Chief.  Chris has served as Incident Commander on over 1500 wildland fires and over 1800 MFD calls. Chris has also had the opportunity to fight wildland fires in 15 states and 2 Canadian Provinces.

Chris retired from the DNR as the Fire Department Specialist in 2018. Many firefighters knew Chris as the wildland training guy for FDs over the last 15 years of his DNR career. Chris also directed the Forest Fire Protection Grant that awarded over $12 million to WI FDs over his career.

Chris currently divides his time with MFD operations, instructing fire classes at Fox Valley and Madison Area Technical Colleges and serving on several fire service-related boards.

Chris is thrilled to be part of the WI State Firefighters Association Board of Directors since 2016. This work dovetails with his lifelong interest and passion for the volunteer fire service. Chris hopes to continue to advocate for and forward the interests of the Fire Service in Wisconsin for the foreseeable future.