Fire chief brings 30 years statewide experience to the job.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed Del Walters as
director of CAL FIRE, following current Director Ruben Grijalva’s announcement
to retire. Walters’ appointment will become final upon receiving confirmation
from the state Senate.
“With more than 30 years of service at CAL FIRE, Del Walters
is the perfect person to head our state’s firefighting efforts,” said Governor
Schwarzenegger. “Playing a key role in combating the 2007 and 2008 firestorms,
he has the experience and leadership capabilities to implement the highest
standards of fire prevention and fire fighting while ensuring all Californians
are protected. Under Del’s
leadership, I am confident that the state will continue to be prepared to
respond to the intense year-round fire seasons we now face.
“I also want to thank Ruben for his service to my administration
and to the people of California.
He is a dedicated public servant and gifted leader who has helped see our state
through some of the worst wildfires we have ever seen in our state’s history. I
wish Ruben the best in his future endeavors.”
Walters has served as the executive officer for CAL FIRE
since 2008. He began his career as a firefighter in 1971. Prior to
promoting to executive officer, he was the assistant region chief then staff
chief of operations for the Northern Region. Prior to that, Walters was the
deputy chief for the Shasta-Trinity Unit. He previously worked for the
Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit as the assistant chief of administration, battalion
chief, vegetation management program coordinator forester I and fire captain.
He has also served as a fire captain, fire apparatus engineer and firefighter
for the San Benito-Monterey Unit. Walters has been a California State
Peace Officer since 1986.
“I am honored to serve the people of California
in this new role,” said Del Walters. “I look forward to working with the
Governor to continue our fire prevention and protection efforts while preparing
Californians for the extraordinary fire seasons our state faces.”
Walters, 54, of Redding,
received his Bachelor of Science degree in forest resource management from Humboldt
This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $174,096.
Walters is a Democrat.
As CAL FIRE’S Director, Walters will oversee 5,500 full-time
and seasonal employees. CAL FIRE is dedicated to the fire protection and
stewardship of more than 31 million acres of California's
privately-owned wildlands. In addition, the department provides various emergency
services in 36 of the State's 58 counties via contracts with local governments.
CAL FIRE firefighters, fire engines, and aircraft respond to an average of more
than 5,700 wildland fires each year. Those fires burn nearly 170,000 acres