Fire Chief

The Los Angeles Fire Department operates a number of bureaus that report directly to the Fire Chief. The Chief (formerly called "the Chief Engineer") is the senior administrative and policy manager for the department. Each of the key bureaus is listed below:

The Fire Chief has the power and duty to:
  • Appoint, discharge, suspend, transfer, or issue instructions to members (civilian and uniformed) of the Department (other than the Secretary of the Board of Fire Commissioners and the Chief Accounting Employee of the Department) in the line of their duties, subject to the civil service provisions of the charter.
  • Expend the funds of the Fire Department in accordance with the provisions of the budget appropriations or of appropriations made subsequent to the budget.
  • Recommend to the Board an Annual Departmental Budget covering the anticipated revenues and expenditures of the Department.
  • Certify expenditures of the Department to the Chief Accounting Employee.
  • File with the Board at least once a month a written report on the activities of the Department.
  • Exercise such further powers in the administration of the Fire Department as may be conferred upon the Fire Chief by the Board.




Ralph M. Terrazas is the Fire Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD). 

Prior to his appointment, he was an Assistant Fire Chief assigned to the South Division “A” Platoon. As a Division Commander, Terrazas was responsible for leading, managing, and training the approximately 500 members on duty at 54 fire stations throughout seven battalion commands.  The South Division Command covers half of the City and includes the complex institutions of the Port of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles International Airport.
Terrazas is a 31-year veteran of the LAFD and is the 18th Fire Chief of the LAFD. During his tenure, he has served as a chief officer for 14 years in a variety of field and administrative commands. He established the Department’s Professional Standards Division (PSD), which upgraded and professionalized the LAFD’s disciplinary system; applied metric-based management at the Division and Battalion level to achieve continual improvement and data tracking of specific objectives; led the development and passage of the Proposition “F” Fire Station Bond, which enabled the construction of 19 new LAFD stations; served as the Community Liaison Officer, and is the holder of a U.S. Patent for a “Brush Fire Rate of Spread” tool and an Emmy Award of Excellence for production of a public service announcement program.
Terrazas was born in Long Beach, Calif., and was raised in nearby Wilmington. He is a graduate of Banning High School, where he played on two City Championship football teams. He retains strong ties to the Wilmington community through his founding and support of the Banning High School/LAFD Fire Academy, which has mentored high school students towards successful professional careers for the past 14 years.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration and a Certificate in Fire Protection Administration from San Diego State University. In 1995, he received Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on Human Resource Management from California State University, Los Angeles. He was appointed to the LAFD in December 1983, fulfilling a lifelong goal of a professional career in the fire and EMS service.
Terrazas and his wife Dayna, a registered nurse, have three children and are long-time residents of San Pedro.