When Carol Brown joined the Boulder Fire Department in 1991, she was one of roughly a dozen female firefighters. Today a shift battalion chief, Brown is one of seven.
Though Boulder was among the earliest to admit females to its force — the first two women were hired in 1978, according to Brown — the number of women in the city’s firefighting force has fallen over the years as older employees have retired. Their ranks have not been refilled due to a dearth of new recruits, leaving just seven females among 99 firefighters.
Boulder will have to more than triple that figure if it hopes to reach its goal, recently added to the fire master plan update: that one-quarter of city firefighters will be women by 2030.
“Seven percent is not good,” said Michael Calderazzo, Boulder’s fire chief. “In the ’80s we were cutting-edge. Over time, we’ve sort of drifted backwards.”