Chief McDougald started his career with CAL FIRE in 1994 as a Firefighter I in the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit.  In 2001, he was promoted to Engineer and worked in both municipal and wildland fire stations.  In 2006, he promoted to Fire Captain.  He worked in the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit until 2009 when he transferred to the Fresno-Kings Unit as the Unit Pre-Fire Engineer.

In 2010, Chief McDougald promoted to Battalion Chief in the role of the Southern Region Pre-Fire Coordinator.  During his time in this position, he assisted in the implementation of the 2010 Strategic Fire Plan for California, CalMAPPER, the State Responsibility Area Fee, State Responsibility Area reviews, CAIRS and the Land Use Planning Program. 
Chief McDougald promoted in 2014 to Assistant Chief in the Fresno-Kings Unit where he oversaw the Pre-Fire, Resource Management, Law Enforcement and Protection Planning Programs.  During this time, he was on the committee that updated the 2018 Strategic Fire Plan for California, served as the co-chair for the development and implementation of CALFIRS and continued involvement on the CalMAPPER Technical Committee.  
In 2021, he became the Assistant Chief for the Home Hardening Program implementing the California Wildfire Mitigation Program with CAL OES, and in 2022, he promoted to Staff Chief where he oversaw the department’s Wildfire Planning (Fire Plan) Program, Wildland Fuels Reduction Reporting, as well as the CalStats Program which administers incident reporting (CALFIRS/NFIRS). During this time, he coordinated the adoption of Fire Hazard Severity Zones in the SRA, chaired the Risk Modeling Workgroup, and initiated updates to CalMAPPER and Fuels Treatment Effectiveness Reporting.