The California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire, is the agency responsible for fire protection in the wildland and forests of the State of California. Cal Fire also provides contract protection services for 35 counties in the state.


In addition to fighting wildland fires, Cal Fire responds to calls for structure fires, automobile accidents, medical aid, swift water rescue, search and rescues, hazardous material spills, and train wrecks. Because Cal Fire has large-scale incident management experience, they often take the lead in large scale disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, and civil disturbances. They also offer an expansive training curriculum to local fire departments as well as their own personnel.

During peak fire season, 24 fire lookout towers in Northern California are operated by Cal Fire.


  • Size of area covered: 31 million acres (~125,000 sq. km)


  • Permanent employees: 4,700
  • Seasonal employees: 2,200
  • Volunteer employees: 5,600
In addition to paid employees and volunteers, Cal Fire utilizes the services of 4,300 inmates from the California Board of Corrections


  • Stations: 802 (228 Cal Fire, 575 contract stations)
  • Engines: 1095 (336 Cal Fire, 759 contract)
  • Trucks: 38
  • Rescue sqauds: 215
  • Paramedic units: 63
  • Hazmat Units: 12
  • Bulldozers: 58
  • Aircraft: 48 (11 helicopters, 23 airtankers, 14 air tactical)

Average annual responsesEdit

  • Wildland fire: 5,600
  • Non-Wildland Fire Emergencies: 350,000


The agency has used standardized wildland engine types since the early 1950s. Beginning with the Model 1 and progressing sequentially with each new type. Model numbers mark both evolutionary changes as well as equipment providing different capabilities. The most recent arrival was the Model 34 which was introduced in the late 2000s.

Until the late 2000s the agency tended to award contracts for equipment to smaller manufacturers within the State of California. Over the years a large number of manufacturers have supplied Calfire with equipment, these include: Yankee, Wesco, Westates, Van Pelt, Coast, Howe, Klein, Earl Sherman, American LaFrance, B&Z, Paoletti, West-Mark, Master Body Works, Pierce, Placer Fire Equipment, and most recently HME.

External linksEdit