Citing hostile work environment, firefighters resign from Colorado County Fire Team

A tweet posted to the crew’s account said 18 volunteers had ‘resigned en masse’

A message posted on February 11 on the Twitter account from Forest fire crew in El Paso County, Colorado, said 18 volunteer fire crew members had “resigned en masse.” A follow-up tweet read: “They said the environment had become 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 Team is part of the County Sheriff’s Office which is headed by Sheriff Bill Elder. In Colorado and Wyoming, the the sheriff is responsible for the suppression of wildfires occurring in unincorporated areas of the county outside the boundaries of a fire protection district. In Texas, this role is assigned to the county judge.

In response to the tweets about the resignations, the Sheriff’s Office posted a response to what they described as the “unauthorized and inaccurate tweet from the EPC Wildland Fire Twitter account”. The response, posted below, said: “While there were some resignations by EPC Wildland Fire team members, the information posted was not accurate.” The statement did not specify what was incorrect about the resignation tweets.

El Paso County Sheriff’s Response to Mass Wildland Fire Crew Resignations

El Paso County has seen some devastating wildfires over the past 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 over 15,000 acres, 486 homes and killed two people. The 2002 Hayman Fire blackened 137,760 acres and destroyed 133 homes. In 2018, the MM 117 fire burned 41,000 acres and 23 homes.

In 2014, on a motorcycle trip to Northern California, I took a photo of an El Paso County Motor Crew riding in Chester.

El Paso Co Engine Crew
Engine crew at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in Chester, California on August 16, 2014. L-R: Collin Wolff, Cameron Hammitt, Peter Ringen and Capt. David Yowell. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildfires for 33 years, he continues to learn and strives to be a student of fire. See all articles by Bill Gabbert

Maria D. Ervin