Executive Director

Allison Thomson

Allison grew up in neighboring Nevada County, with family ties to the forest products industry in both Yuba and Santa Cruz Counties, all of which instilled in her a deep respect and excitement for our natural resources. After receiving BS degrees from UC Berkeley in Forestry and Environmental Sciences, she worked for multiple environmental non-profits, timber companies, and private forestry consultants across Northern California. Most recently, she has worked with local stakeholders on multiple large-scale forest health projects across the Yuba River Watershed, all focused on building critical relationships and economic stability, and improving forest health and wildfire resilience for our communities.

When she’s not working in the forest (or in the office thinking about the forest), Allison can be found enjoying it: hiking, running, swimming, botanizing (and photographing said botany), cloud- and star-gazing; or snuggled at home with her fuzzy cat, cooking, baking, knitting, trying to learn to paint, and growing more vegetables than she can eat.


Project Coordinator

Jannike Allen

Jannike joined the Yuba Watershed Protection and Fire Safe Council (YWPFSC) in February 2022 as a part-time Project Coordinator. Her name may not be intuitive to pronounce, unless you use a Norwegian mindset (YON-ick-a).  She grew up exploring Northern California on hikes and camping trips with her family, and became more acquainted with the Northern Sierras while working on collaborative forestry projects for a nonprofit in Plumas County.  She graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science from Portland State University, where she played percussion in as many different ensembles as possible and researched wildfire’s effects on Alaska’s boreal forests as a member of the Lucash Lab. She strives to have a balanced life while contributing to positive community and ecological outcomes.  Her professional interests include fire resiliency, science communication, and landscape stewardship.  When she’s not thinking about those, Jannike is often cooking, playing music, lopping unruly vegetation, traveling to visit family and friends, learning basket weaving, and enjoying walks, hikes, and art. 

Board of Directors


Sean Griffis

Chief, Smartsville Fire Protection District Battalion Chief, Retired Cal Fire


Steve Andrews

Former executive director of the Yuba Fire Safe Council Steve graduated from Humboldt State University with a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management and has practiced as a Registered Professional Forester in California for 40 years. Steve also taught a number of Forestry Classes at Sierra College in Rocklin, CA.


Creighton Avila

Creighton Avila is a Project Manager with Yuba Water Agency, and brings a broad background in administration (e.g. budget, finance, human resources, strategic planning, technology implementation, communications, etc.), program evaluation and improvement (e.g. identify operational opportunities with staff and stakeholders to create strategies for success), management of diverse programs (e.g. infrastructure programs, natural resource/recreation programs, administrative programs, etc.), and leading public engagement processes on contentious topics (e.g. rebuilding after a natural disaster, creating countywide vegetation management rules, commercial and medical cannabis, etc.). Creighton grew up in Vacaville and spent a lot of his youth in the Northstate and the North Coast where his dad’s family works mostly in agriculture and water. It was there that Creighton developed his interest in helping more rural to medium size communities. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a double major, Creighton worked in the Governor’s Communications Office in Sacramento. During this time, he traveled the state and met different local leaders and listened to the impact they had at the local level. These experiences drove him to want to make a difference at the local level, so he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) to get a master’s in administration with an emphasis in finance and local government management. While there, he completed assistantships in economic development and local government management at the UNC School of Government. The UNC School of Government works as a consulting firm to assist local governments throughout the state. In addition, to working with local governments, Creighton also volunteered his time to work with an organization that provided microcredit loans to women in rural Guatemala. Following graduation, Creighton worked in administration for two counties and a city in North Carolina that were concentrating on infrastructure renewal/expansion and economic development after the loss of jobs in core economic areas (e.g. textiles, furniture manufacturing, tobacco, etc.). During his time in these communities, innovative local investment in education, infrastructure while creating new competitive policies brought an economic renewal in existing economic clusters and allowed for new economic opportunities that did not exist in the past. These experiences, alongside working with stakeholders to find new methods of providing services helped to improve community outcomes. After almost a decade in North Carolina, Creighton moved back to Northern California to work in the Chief Administrative Office for El Dorado County. While working for the County, he managed different administrative, infrastructure, and natural resource/recreation programs while leading efforts to bring public consensus on different controversial topics.  


Pamela Cook

Pamela (Pam) Cook earned her Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Northern Illinois University in 1974 and has been working with children and families since that time as a teacher, social worker, vocational counselor, Program Manager, and Executive Director. Pam retired in 2018 after working with Yuba County Children and Adult Protective Services for 19 years. Local volunteer activities have included secretary for the Dobbins-Oregon House Community Action Committee (DOACT) and bookkeeper for the Dobbin Volunteer Fire Department. She has been a CalFire Volunteer in Prevention (VIP) doing fire watch at Oregon Peak every Sunday since 2000. She is also a Council of Directors member for the Yuba Environmental Sciences Charter Academy and an active participant with the Camptonville Community Partnership Biomass Project. Pam has lived in Dobbins since 1999 and lives on her grandparent’s property. Two months after arriving the Pendola fire destroyed much of our community. Her property was also devastated (all except the house) and since that time she has been working to return/improve her property to a natural balance. She has worked hard to become a “country mouse” after being a “city mouse” for most of her life. Environmental issues are very important to her, she loves the out of doors and has turned her small property into a haven for our local flora and fauna. It has been a challenge to find the balance between trying to grow fruit trees, veggies and native plants and “sharing” with local creatures. However, it is definitely a labor of love. She looks forward to working with Yuba Watershed Protection and Fire Safe Council to help keep our forests healthy and prevent wildfires.  

Board Member

Stephen Heter