Citing hostile work environment, firefighters resign from county fire crew in Colorado

A tweet posted on the crew’s account said 18 volunteers “mass resigned”

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El Paso County Wildland Fire

A message posted February 11 on the Twitter account of the Wildland Fire Crew in El Paso County Colorado stated that 18 volunteer firefighters on the crew “mass resigned.” A follow up tweet read, “They said the environment became hostile to the volunteers and they felt they were no longer needed or wanted.” El Paso County is the location of Colorado Springs.

El Paso County Fire Crew Tweet resignations

El Paso County Fire Crew Tweet resignations

The El Paso County fire crew is part of the County Sheriff’s office which is headed by Sheriff Bill Elder. In Colorado and Wyoming the sheriff is responsible for the suppression of wildfires occurring in the unincorporated areas of the county outside the boundaries of a fire protection district. In Texas this role is assigned to the County Judge.

In a response to the tweets about the resignations, the Sheriff’s office issued a response to what they described as the “unauthorized, inaccurate tweet from the EPC Wildland Fire Twitter Account.” The response, posted below, said, “While there have been some resignations by members of the EPC Wildland Fire Team, the information posted was not accurate.” The statement did not specify what was inaccurate in the tweets about the resignations.

[pdf-embedder url=”https://wildfiretoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/MR-22-006-Sheriffs-Office-Addresses-Unauthorized-Inaccurate-Tweet-from-the-EPC-Wildland-Fire-Twitter-Account.pdf” title=”El Paso County Sheriff response to mass resignations wildland fire crew”]

 

El Paso County has been the location of some devastating wildfires in the last 20 years. In 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire burned more than 18,000 acres, destroyed 347 homes in Colorado Springs, and killed two people. Almost exactly a year later, the Black Forest Fire ignited east of the city and burned more than 15,000 acres, 486 homes, and killed two people. The Hayman Fire in 2002 blackened 137,760 acres and destroyed 133 homes. In 2018 the MM 117 Fire burned 41,000 acres and 23 homes.

(UPDATE Feb. 17, 2022: KRDO has an article saying the Sheriff’s office told them that 10 members of the fire crew quit.)


In 2014 while on a motorcycle trip that went through Northern California I took a photo of an engine crew from El Paso County that was staging in Chester.

El Paso Co engine crew
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office engine crew in Chester, California, Aug. 16, 2014. L to R: Collin Wolff, Cameron Hammitt, Peter Ringen, and Captain David Yowell. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

5 thoughts on “Citing hostile work environment, firefighters resign from county fire crew in Colorado”

  1. Its interesting how the SO’s response was that they are investigating the source of the unauthorized Tweet, instead of investigating if there is merit in the claim.

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  2. Eighteen guys in one shot must be something to it. Paid guys and vollies don’t mix. ‘Oh, we love and value our volunteers”. ‘We can’t do our mission without them.” BS!!‘Well we could just put on more paid guys”. Paid guys. ‘’ If I wasn’t getting paid you wouldn’t see me here. A crappy ass job that need to be done. Hey!! That’s why we have volunteers. Ha Ha!! “ The vollies are stealing our work”. The management “Look at all the money they save us”. Vollies get tired of listening to paid guys complaining. And being treated like S—t. And nothing but lip service Happens all over. FD. EMS Trail Crews Food Banks. Wherever you mix them.

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  3. The press release from the El Paso County Sherriff’s office is wholly inadequate. We are watching here for updates. Thank you for your coverage on this matter.

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