COLORADO SPRINGS — Fire Chiefs from across Southern Colorado on Thursday introduced a retired Air Force Colonel to lead a new interagency wildland team.

At the Security Fire District Station No.1, The Fire Chiefs of the South Group introduced the newly appointed superintendent of the team, Mr. Shane Coyne on Thursday morning. Superintendent Coyne is a retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel and comes to the SOCO Wildland Fire Team with more than 23 years in the wildland fire service.

The Fire Chiefs said they have experienced a substantial increase of wildland fires and wildland urban interface fires in recent years. Collectively they have identified a need for additional wildland fire protection in southern El Paso County, the need for these additional resources is the driving force in the creation of a newly formed interagency wildland fire team that will provide critical support to their service areas as well as to mutual aid partners.

In addition to his wildland training and experience, Superintendent Coyne holds double master’s degrees in both organizational leadership and public administration.

“Every time you have a fire of any sort of size there is always something to learn,” said Coyne. “You’re either green and growing or ripe and rotting and we wanna be that crew that is always learning.”

The 100% volunteer workforce will utilize equipment and apparatus from South Group organizations to support current staff. The team will have the ability to more than double the number of wildland firefighters on a typical scene, sometimes within minutes from the initial dispatch of a life-threatening wildfire.