Butte County Fire Department is the largest fire department north of Sacramento, California to Eugene, Oregon. We are a combination of career and citizen volunteer firefighters.

Our Mission: "To provide professional services to protect lives, property, and environment to those residing, working or traveling with in the unincorporated areas of Butte County, the cities of Biggs and Gridley and the Town of Paradise."

Battalion Chief Shem Hawkins

Shem Hawkins is the Battalion Chief assigned to command the Chico Air Attack Base.  The Air Attack Base is located at Chico Airport, and has one air tanker (delivers fire retardant to the fireline) and one air attack (command and control aircraft) assigned.

Shem began his career as a volunteer firefighter in the community of Magalia in 1992, and obtained employment as a seasonal firefighter for Cal Fire in the Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit later in the year.  While attending UC Davis, Shem worked as a student firefighter. He graduated in 1998 with a degree in civil engineering.  Shortly afterward, Shem began obtaining certification as a paramedic and promoted to Limited Term Engineer with Cal Fire in the Nevada-Yuba- Placer Unit.

In 2001, Shem promoted to permanent Fire Apparatus Engineer in the Butte Unit, and worked in BTU Battalion’s five and four.  After several years, Shem transferred to work as a Paramedic in the community of Lincoln in the Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit.  That assignment entailed several years on engines and ladder trucks working in blend of urban and rural environments.  After several years, Shem returned to the Butte Unit as a Fire Captain assigned to the Air Attack Base. 

During 2014, Shem promoted to San Mateo Santa Cruz Unit as a Field Battalion Chief.  While in this position, Shem supervised several stations and participated in regional responses through an San Mateo County inter-agency boundary drop agreement that ensured the closest resources responded to emergencies, regardless of jurisdiction.  Shem is assigned to Cal Fire Incident Management Team 3.

Shem is proud to serve the communities of Butte County, and welcomes our community members to come to the Air Attack Base during the summer to see our firefighting aircraft up close

 Contact Fire

Butte County Fire

In an Emergency
Dial 9-1-1
Arson Hotline

Phone:    530.538.7111
Fax:        530.538.7401

 Locations and Hours

Butte County Fire
176 Nelson Avenue
Oroville CA, 95965

Office Hours
Monday to Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm
Excludes Holidays


 Current Incidents

For current incidents call
Butte County Fire

If you reach a recording, there may be no current incidents

Visit Statewide Fire Incidents


Butte County Air Quality Management Department

View Burn Day Status


Butte County Fire CALFIRE

Darren Read, Fire Chief  
David Hawks, Assistant Chief, North Division 
Chris Haile, Assistant Chief, South Division 
Jamie Norton, Assistant Chief, Administration

Garret Sjolund, Assistant Chief, Butte Fire Center

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