Mike Porter remembered as voice of the Ojai Ranger District

web still from livestream Brian Porter

Still from livestream

Michael Porter’s father, Brian, remembers his son at a memorial service in Ventura on Feb. 2.


Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News senior editor 

Family, friends and co-workers gathered Feb. 2 to remember Mike Porter, the face and voice of the Ojai Ranger District.

Porter, 38, passed away from a heart attack Jan. 22.

A native of Ventura, Porter started his career on Los Padres National Forest in 2007 as a temporary firefighter, and for the last four-and-a-half years worked the front desk at the ORD office on East Ojai Avenue, answering visitor questions about trails and camps.

“Porter was perfect at this job. He never missed an opportunity to engage with the public and lend a helping hand to his co-workers,” said Ojai District Ranger Karina Medina at the service at Reality Ventura. “Porter’s infectious spirit and outgoing personality were hallmarks to his dedication to public service.”

As a firefighter, Porter worked at Wheeler Gorge Station on Engine 55 and Casitas Station on Engine 51, and was deployed on multiple wildfires for parts of eight seasons. An injury, however, ended his firefighting career.

Medina said she’ll miss Porter’s bright spirit, “and, on the forest, we’ll forever remember him for his commitment to public service, his love for the forest and his overall cheerfulness.”

Porter is survived by his wife, Heather, and their two daughters, Adeline and Hazel.

“In our home, we called him ‘The Lorax,’” said Heather Porter. “And if you’re not familiar with Dr. Seuss’s character, he has an orange, bushy mustache; a little guy who’s the guardian of the forest and speaks for the trees. We always thought that was fitting.”

web provided Porter Family

Photo provided

The Porters enjoyed snow play at nearby Mt. Pinos and in Sequoia National Park.


Heather concluded with a familiar backcountry tenet near and dear to Mike. “Pack it in, pack it out, leave no trace. Just as Michael left it, leave it better than you found it,” she said.

“I remember when Michael was in fifth grade. His teacher said, ‘You know, I think Michael would rather be out in the forest than here in the school.’ And she was right,” said father and firefighter Brian Porter.

Holding the service for his son helped with the loss, Porter said. “The clouds cleared for a little bit and it stopped raining.”

The service was streamed live and recorded for viewing at:

A GoFundMe website has been set up to help the family at:

web provided Mike Porter

Photo provided

Mike Porter, Los Padres National Forest firefighter and, most recently, face and voice of the Ojai Ranger District. 


Condolences can be sent to Porter Family, c/o Ojai Ranger District, 1190 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai 93023.

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