Sheriff’s office, Larkspur Fire Dept. form wild land fire team

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- On a foothills ridge, just south of downtown Castle Rock, there the 14 person crew stood, by the firefighting helicopter for their ‘graduation images.’

The team, dressed in Nomax yellow, is made up of both Larkspur firefighters and Douglas County Sheriff's deputies who all volunteered to be on the wild land fire team.

“This team all went to wild land fire training and now carry their Red Cards, allowing them to fight fires in remote areas,” said Larkspur Chief Jamey Bumgarner.

“This gives us crews with tools in their hands, who can be on the ground in minutes after a wildfire is reported, without having to wait for engine companies to roll.”

Talks between the chopper company, sheriff's officials and Larkspur Fire began two years ago, and now the team is already responding to fires in the county.

One, the second day of the Black Forest fire, near Jones Road. Another in Highlands Ranch the same week. In all, the team has helped knock down eight or nine fires so far this season.

County commissioners tell FOX31 Denver, “The funding for the program is well worth it, when it comes to making sure citizens are safe when fires break out.”

There is talk at the state level of setting up ‘hand-crews’ around the state to be first of the first responders who fight fires before air drops and big rigs arrive on scene.

And with the recent successes, it probably won’t be long before other counties look for joint teams which link up cops and ‘smoke chokers’ who both help keep us safe.