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Riverside County Fire Department  


Fire Protection


From the days of the bucket brigades of colonial America and the range, forest and brush fires of the early West, fire protection has demanded one dominant element -- cooperation. Unlike many other public services, political and jurisdictional boundaries are intentionally minimized through a complex system of agreements including mutual aid and functional consolidation, to maximize efficiency and protect against the common public enemy -- uncontrolled fires.




Early Days


CAL FIRE (Formerly CDF) contractual relationship with Riverside County dates back to 1921. Those first contracts were only to augment the level of wild land fire protection provided by the State. CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department, as we know it today, started in 1946 with the appointment of Truman Holland as County Fire Warden. Truman was part of the County Fire Department operations from 1946 until June 30, 1969. Sometime during that period (mid-60's), Fire Warden Holland became Chief Holland, who has been described as a very colorful man. It was his innovative ideas in the 40's and 50's that developed the basis for what the Riverside County Fire Department is today.




Riverside County Fire Department's first "engines" were surplus Army vehicles. The 10 wheelers stayed in the fleet until about 1970.




Riverside County Fire Chiefs - Past to Present:

  • Truman Holland from 1946 to June 30, 1969
  • Elmer Chambers from 7-1-69 to 12-8-75
  • David L. Flake from 12-8-75 to 7-31-84
  • Raymond L. Hebrard from 10-2-84 to 10-30-88
  • Glen J. Newman from 12-14-88 to 2-28-92
  • J.M. Harris from 3-1-92 to 8-28-96
  • Jim Wright from 1996 to 1999
  • Larry Benson from 1999 to 2000
  • Tom Tisdale from 2000 to 2004
  • Craig E. Anthony from 2004 to 2006
  • Tom O'Keefe in 2006
John R. Hawkins is our current Fire Chief (from August 2006 to present).



Each of these County Fire Chiefs helped to increase fire protection requirements. Their efforts have added to the safety and protection of our firefighters through more modern and better equipment, and in turn have increased the protection level for Riverside County residents.