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Unique Team from Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Fights Crime..and Wildfires

Unique Team from Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Fights Crime..and Wildfires

(Douglas County, Colorado) The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) is taking a proactive approach to address wildfires, which have been identified as the number one natural hazard in the region. The DCSO Wildland Fire Handcrew (WFH) Special Team is made up of deputies and civilian employees from all divisions of the Sheriff’s Office.

Traditionally assigned roles such as school resource officer, jail deputy, and civil warrants deputy often require a strong sense of teamwork, adaptability, and quick decision-making—qualities that directly translate to effective wildland fire response. The WFH trains twice a month for wildland fire suppression.

The Wildland Fire Handcrew, under the direction of the Office of Emergency Management’s Emergency Service Unit, excels in tackling remote wildland fires that conventional fire engines find challenging to reach. These dedicated professionals traverse rugged terrains to reach the heart of wildfires, armed with chainsaws, hand-tools, and water backpacks, all of which enable them to effectively combat the flames. The WFH’s primary objective is to bolster the response time for initial attack wildfires, which are often characterized by their rapid and intense spread.

Sheriff Darren Weekly, in describing the team, said, “The Wildland Fire Handcrew exemplifies our commitment to innovation and the safety of our community. By combining the expertise of deputies with wide-ranging backgrounds, we are enhancing our preparedness for wildland fire incidents while reinforcing our dedication to the people we serve.”

Josh Lewis, one of the managers of the Emergency Service Unit that oversees the Wildland Fire Handcrew, said, “This is a unique thing we have going on here. We are under emergency management, but our primary focus in ESU is wildland fire suppression. I’m not aware of any other sheriff’s office that actually does this, where they have deputies that are crossed-trained in wildland fire suppression. It’s really a cool thing that we’ve done here in the county.”