Former CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Chief John Hawkins was honored last month at the annual meeting of the Wildland Fire Training and Safety Conference put on by the Southern California Foresters and Fire Wardens at Yukaipa, California. Chief Hawkins retired on Christmas Day in 2018 after his 55-year fire career. As Fire Chief he directed a cooperative regional fire protection district with 97 fire stations, three fire camps, one air attack base, and 1,600 personnel, responding to over 160,000 emergencies over a large unincorporated county area and 21 partner cities. He also supervised the CAL FIRE resources that provide services under contract to Riverside County, the 4th-most populous county in California and the 11th-most populous in the United States.
I am retiring from @CAL_FIRE effective December 26, 2018. My last date on the payroll will be December 25, 2018. I look forward to a healthy and positive retirement. Please see my message to all included below. I will be around. Thank you so very much. Happy Holidays! pic.twitter.com/HaB4GyRamP
— John Hawkins (@JhawkFire) December 19, 2018
After his presentation at the conference about the key elements of leadership and the importance of mentoring successors he was surprised to be honored and presented with gifts, including a chromed double-bit axe.
Some of the topics from Chief Hawkins’ talk explored day to day human factors that firefighters are exposed to, such as stress, PTSD, suicide, and their supervisors, but most were about the characteristics of a good leader of firefighters. Used with his permission, below are 10 images that I selected from his 114-slide presentation at the conference:
Happy trails, Chief!