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Inspiring Valor: Chief David Hawks speaks to harrowing wildfire incident response

The Butte County fire chief describes the Camp Fire response that ultimately earned him the IAFC’s Ben Franklin Award for Valor

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By IAFC Staff

In the face of danger, some individuals rise above the ordinary reactions to display extraordinary acts of bravery and valor.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Ben Franklin Award for Valor recognizes these heroes who risk their lives to protect others. If you know someone deserving of this prestigious accolade, we encourage you to nominate them.

To gain inspiration and insight into the true essence of valor, we invite you to watch a video featuring Chief David Hawks, CAL FIRE Butte Unit Chief and Butte County fire chief, plus a past winner of the award, as he shares his remarkable experience during the devastating Camp Fire incident in Paradise, California.

This heartbreaking incident tested Chief Hawks and his team as they worked tirelessly to evacuate critical patients from Feather River Hospital. They sheltered the patients in a nearby home, bravely defending it from the raging fire and ember ignition. Chief Hawks’ account of the event is both inspiring and humbling.

Despite the devastating loss of lives, Hawks witnessed the resilience and composure of the people being evacuated, highlighting the strength of the human spirit even in the face of unimaginable challenges. His experience underscores the crucial role of preparedness, community development, and embracing advancements in technology and resources to combat wildfires effectively.

The Ben Franklin Award for Valor serves as a beacon of recognition for those who demonstrate exceptional acts of bravery. By nominating someone deserving of this esteemed award, you honor their heroic efforts and inspire others within the fire and emergency service community. It is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the selflessness, courage and sacrifice exhibited by these remarkable individuals.

Learn more about the Ben Franklin Award for Valor and nominate a hero today.