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.
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.