Our History

The Division of Fire Safety (DFS) was originally formed in 1984 within the Colorado Department of Public Safety. Among other things, one of its primary charges was to oversee the voluntary firefighter certification program. The original Director and the first employee of DFS was Dean Smith. The responsibilities of the Division grew with the changes in the State and additional programs and personnel were added along the way. These programs included gaming facilities safety and fireworks regulation (just to name a few).

In 1993, Director Smith retired and Paul Cooke was appointed to carry out the Director duties. A significant event occurred in 1994 with the South Canyon Fire. In this fire, 14 men and women made the ultimate sacrifice, just west of Glenwood Springs. This incident resulted in various fire service leaders and fire serv ice organizations drafting the Five Point Plan for a Fire Safe Colorado. In essence, this document became the “map” over the next several years in moving Colorado and DFS forward. In 2006 Paul Cooke left the Division to be the Executive Director for the Colorado State Fire Chiefs Association. When Director Cooke left, Kevin Klein was appointed to the Director position. Notably, Director Klein was one of the main authors of the Five Point Plan.

The next significantly notable event occurred in 2012 when a prescribed fire, known as the Lower North Fork Fire, escaped and killed three civilians and destroyed 24 structures. As a result, the majority of fire programs, including fire suppression, school, and health care facilities regulation, were moved to the Division of Fire Safety and the name was changed to the Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC). Also in 2012, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management was created and Kevin Klein was appointed as Director of the new Division. Paul Cooke was then reappointed as Director of the new DFPC. Between 2012 and 2016, many significant changes occurred that grew the relatively small DFS into the DFPC—with nearly 130 employees and nearly all State-level fire suppression, certification, inspection, and fire-related research programs under one roof. 

In 2016, former-Director Cooke retired and Director Michael Morgan was appointed the DFPC Director on April 25, 2016.