Tyler Kowalski (left) of Buckskin Fire was named 2022 Firefighter of the Year by United Fire Equipment Supply. He is seen Buckskin Fire Chief Brian McMahan.

A Buckskin firefighter and Lake Havasu resident has been named 2022 Arizona Firefighter of the Year. Tyler Kowalski of the Buckskin Fire Department was nominated for the award from United Fire Equipment Supply, a major supplier to fire departments around Arizona. He received his award in September at the Arizona State Fire School.

Kowalski was nominated for the award for his role in a boating accident that occurred on July 30, 2022. Buckskin Fire and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call that evening of a boat that had run aground near Bass Point, which is located near Emerald Cove on the California side of the Colorado River.

The incident involved a dive rescue as the boat rolled over on impact and four people were ejected. Two people were taken to local hospitals. An investigation determined that alcohol was involved in the accident.

Kowalski has been with Buckskin Fire for seven years. He came to them straight from the academy. He is from the area, as his father is a Lake Havasu City firefighter.

Kowalski said it was the influence of his family that got him involved in firefighting. He said he’s been around and involved with firefighting his whole life.

In addition to dive work, Kowalski is also a wildlands firefighter.

Buckskin Fire Chief Brian McMahan said he and the department were proud of Kowalski and his being named Arizona Firefighter of the Year. He said is shows the high level of expertise and professionalism the Buckskin Fire has.

The Buckskin Fire Department serves the area north of Parker from the northern boundary of the Colorado River Indian Reservation to the Mohave County line. In addition to structure fires and emergency medical services, they also handle wildland fires and boating incidents on the Colorado River.


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