City of Asheville announces the retirement of Asheville Fire Chief Scott Burnette

Fire Chief Scott Burnette is retiring after serving the community for over 28 years, with the last 14 years as fire chief. His last day will be June 1, 2023.


“Chief Burnette has been an incredible leader both to his department and the organization as a whole,” said City Manager Debra Campbell. “Through his years of service he has demonstrated time and again both compassion and an incredible depth of integrity. The Asheville Fire Department (AFD) is better because of his contributions and set up for success because of his legacy.”  


Burnette’s leadership has been instrumental in the achievement of a number of goals that have positively impacted the fire department, its firefighters, the organization and the Asheville community. His contributions include:


  • Advocating for the addition of Fire Station 13 (slated to open in June 2023) to improve response times in Stumptown, Montford, Five Points, and Richmond Hill neighborhoods.

  • Increasing staff to a minimum of four firefighters on each engine and ladder truck which  improved firefighter safety and on-scene response capabilities.

  • Restructuring the Fire Marshal’s Office (code enforcement) to be more efficient and effective, improving staff retention and supplying career advancement opportunities in this division.

  • Implementing Rapid Intervention Companies: three engines with teams of highly trained firefighters equipped with the tools needed to rescue a downed firefighter.

  • Maintaining Asheville Fire Department accreditation status by the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

  • Earning a Class 1 Insurance Rating, given to only the top one percent of fire departments across the country, resulting in lower insurance rates within Asheville city limits. 

  • Increasing Asheville Fire Department applicant diversity by nearly 25 percent.

  • Increasing the department’s capabilities to a higher EMT-Advanced level allowing them to administer life-saving intravenous medications and perform advanced life-saving procedures, increasing positive outcomes in our community.

  • Receiving the Community Service Award by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation for the department’s efforts to increase resilience and mental health wellness resources support for the department.


“It has been an honor to serve the City of Asheville as a firefighter and Fire Chief. The firefighters and City employees that I have had the honor to spend my career with are the most amazing people in the world. They have certainly provided me with an incredible career for which I am forever grateful” said Chief Burnette


An Interim Fire Chief will be named and a search will begin immediately to fill the position. 

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