Colorado veterans tackle fire danger in Douglas County

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -- The weekend’s hot, windy weather is a perfect reminder of a threat heating up along the Front Range: Wildfires.

Devastating fires can happen at any time in Colorado, but are most frequent from March through November.

“These days, it’s year round,” West Metro Fire Rescue firefighter Jonathan Ashford said. “There’s always a risk.”

West Metro’s coverage area includes cities and forests, and the department doesn’t have time or money to perform as much fire mitigation as it would like.

But Saturday, it got some big help from 60 veterans from across the state, teaming up to lend a land.

It’s part of the volunteer group Team Rubicon, which travels across the globe following natural disasters. Its goal Saturday at Roxborough State Park was preventing one.

“When volunteers like Team Rubicon are able to come in and make that slam dunk impact, it goes a long way,” Navy veteran Jordan Daniel said.

Daniel and dozens of others spent the day clearing dry brush from the park, eliminating fuels that can help a fire spread quickly.

They focused their efforts on an important evacuation route for people who live in the area.

The park borders hundreds of homes that would be in big trouble if a fire started there.

“If we go into a neighborhood and it’s not really safe for us, then we really can’t help,” Ashford said. “This makes it easier for us to do what we want to do, which is save lives, and protect property.”

Daniel and the volunteers say Team Rubicon allows them to continue that sense of purpose that drove them to the military in the first place.

They wanted to serve then, and they want to serve now.

“The energy here is just contagious,” Daniel said. “Once you see someone plugging away, everybody else kind of feeds off that.”

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