Colorado Springs firefighter shares Emmy win for fire doc

July 28, 2014

Photo: Waldo Canyon Fire burning in Colorado Springs(Photo: Courtesy of Steve Schopper)Colorado has made it through the 2014 fire season without any big disasters so far. Several wildfires are burning now, in the northwestern part of the state and near Steamboat Springs. So far, none of these fires have caused major damage, but the memories of recent years are still fresh.

Earlier this month a short documentary about wildfire in Colorado, featuring scenes from the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest Fires, won a regional Emmy. A Colorado Springs firefighter is sharing in the award.

The Denver Post produced “Fire Line” with help from Steve Schopper, videographer for the Colorado Springs Fire Department and a firefighter in Manitou Springs. 

"Fire Line" includes a barrage of images from the Black Forest and Waldo Canyon Fires, showing houses burning up. Schopper shot many of them. He says he has to see these images almost every day, when someone requests to use them or he gives a lecture on his work. Seeing the images, he says, doesn't bother him. But when he talks with fellow firefighters, the emotions come back. "When we sit down and talk, the emotions do resurface and I get choked up. I remember how I felt when that was going down," he says. "I remember the sorrow I had for those people who were losing everything."

Black Forest Fire 2Photo courtesy: Bryan Oller/The AP
Neighbors watch as the Black Forest Fire burns northeast of Colorado Springs, Colo.
Schopper says he didn't plan to make that training video  but stumbled into a situation where it was possible.  "When I got there and we could see where the flame was, I got my camera out and started shooting the fire and the crew," he says. "The guys were applying what they were trained to do, with fire approaching." Schopper says people around the world have contacted him about the film.