Late Friday, Jan. 19, John Hawkins, Cal Fire’s Riverside Unit chief and the Riverside County fire chief, was removed from his position. His temporary replacement is Dan Talbot, deputy chief for the county’s eastern operations.
“All I have right now is Chief Hawkins is no longer the fire chief and the department has put an interim chief in as of now. Chief Hawkins is still an employee and that’s all I have as of now,” said Cal Fire Chief Mike Mohler of the Southern Region Communications for Cal Fire’s South Ops.
Chuck Washington, 3rd District supervisor and chair of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, confirmed that Hawkins had been asked to serve elsewhere in the Cal Fire system.
“An interim has been named and I have asked for an item to be placed our or closed session agenda for next Tuesday as a personnel matter,” he said in an email.
Friday night, 1st District Supervisor Kevin Jeffries posted this comment on his Facebook page: “While I can’t speak officially for the entire Riverside County Board of Supervisors, I think I can safely say that we would like to thank Fire Chief John Hawkins for his incredible service to Riverside County and numerous cities. He has led our county (and many parts of the state) through terrible wildland fires, floods, tough budgets and severe growing pains. I wish him well with his new position in Cal-Fire.”
For more than 10 years, Hawkins had been the county fire chief. His tenure began August 2006.