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 Russ Fowler

I started with Cal Fire/Butte County Fire in 1983.  I moved up through the ranks from Fire Fighter to my current rank of Battalion Chief.  I promoted to Battalion Chief in 2002 and served as our Command Center Chief until 2007, when I assumed the duties of the Oroville/Kelly Ridge/Palermo Battalion (Battalion 6).  I am a founding member the Butte County Interagency HazMat Team, which was established in 1989 to meet the growing demand for hazardous material response in Butte County.  I have served as the team’s coordinator since 2007.    

I was a member of Cal Fire’s Incident Command Team 1 for three years, where I held the position of Operations Section Chief. In addition to being the Operations Section Chief on some very challenging major fires statewide, I have been the Incident Commander of some very complex local incidents, including the Highway 149 Bridge Collapse and the Thermalito Power Plant Fire. I was also instrumental in developing Cal Fires’ Operations in the Wildland Urban Interface, a new curriculum that has change the face of wildland firefighting statewide.

I am very involved in the Butte College Fire Academy, both as an instructor and an Academy Supervisor for over a decade. I am also a Subject Matter Expect for the California Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee, developing and instructing courses such as Terrorism Consequence Management, as well as a new course titled Unified Response to Violent Incidents.  

I am an avid cyclist that enjoys the challenge of road racing, trail running, and duathlons, which all keep me physically and mentally healthy.  I am married to a beautiful wife and they have three awesome boys, as well as a spoiled rotten bull dog.  We reside in East Oroville where I enjoy being part of our community.  I am also the Chairperson of the Butte County Firefighters Benevolent Foundation, helping both the public and his fellow public safety brothers and sisters in their time of need. 

 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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