Gov. Edwards Announces Retirement of State Fire Marshal Butch Browning

Published 4:42 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2022

BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning has accepted the position of executive director of the National Association of State Fire Marshals, which becomes effective May 15, 2022. Browning has served for 14 years, giving him the distinction of being the longest serving state fire marshal in Louisiana history.

“Butch has been a valued member of my cabinet, helping lead our state through some of the strongest hurricanes and severe weather on record. His expertise and knowledge were crucial to helping work with the business community as we navigated ways in which to keep communities safe during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. He and his team spent countless days including weekends working with and educating business owners. I will always be grateful for his service and dedication to our citizens and the men and women of the State Fire Marshal’s Office,” said Gov. Edwards. “Not only has Butch provided tremendous service for our state during times of crisis, but he has extended a helping hand to other states when they have faced emergencies. His impressive work is known across the country, and I am certain that he will continue to be a great leader. I am pleased to welcome Dan Wallis as our new state fire marshal. Dan has the years of experience and proven track record that will benefit our state, and I have every confidence in his ability to lead this department.”

Browning was first appointed in 2008 and has served through two, two-term governors.

Under Browning’s leadership, the state fire marshal’s office has become a leader for the business community to depend on.  He has implemented higher safety standards for building and construction and increased arson abatement across the state to professional levels that has received nationwide recognition. Lastly, he has developed, from the ground up, a robust, responsive, and recognized Urban Search and Rescue program that puts the SFM at the forefront of disaster response at a moment’s notice across Louisiana and beyond.

“This is a bittersweet day for me as I am so proud to look back on what this agency has become over the past 14 years, but also that I will not be as integral of a part of its bright future, though I will remain its strongest cheerleader from the sidelines,” said Browning. “I want to thank Governor Edwards for allowing me to serve the citizens, specifically the fire and life safety industry. I look forward to using my 34 years of experience to not only promote the great work of Louisiana firefighters, but also to be a partner in national change as it relates to better safety, protection, and economic development. I hope that the dedicated men and women of this agency continue to be held to the utmost appreciation and gratitude for the great work that they do every single day and I am confident Dan Wallis will exceed the successes that we have brought about to this agency together.”

State Fire Marshal Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel H. Wallis has been named as Browning’s successor. Dan has been a member of the fire service for nearly 30 years working with the Zachary Fire Department where he was recognized as Firefighter of the Year in his first year as a career fireman in 1980 and was named that department’s fire chief in 2000.

As deputy state fire marshal, Dan played a key role in the reorganization of the agency to incorporate cross-training of deputies to make the agency more efficient. Most recently, he helped lead the transition of the Louisiana Fire & Emergency Training Academy (FETA) from LSU to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Dan is a lifetime member of the Louisiana State Firemen’s Association, the Louisiana Fire Chiefs’ Association and he is also a member of the Louisiana Arson and Fire Prevention Association and the International Fire Chiefs’ Association.

“It is an honor that the governor and the citizens of Louisiana have the confidence in me to continue the positive progression of this agency as its leader,” said Wallis, “I will work diligently with the men and women of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Louisiana fire service and all other public and private partners of this agency, especially our esteemed law enforcement agencies, to provide progressive, efficient and accessible service to the people of this great state.”