Eric Nickel was sworn in as the City of Santa Barbara’s new fire chief this Tuesday. The week before, he appeared before the city’s Planning Commission, throwing his weight behind efforts to accelerate the creation of a wildland fire management plan. That plan is one of many ingredients in City Hall’s sprawling multimillion-dollar Capital Improvement Plan. Nickel, who served as chief of the Palo Alto Fire Department, was accompanied by his wife, his father, and his brother at the ceremony. He bought his wife a necklace for the occasion.