From Big Sky to The Last Frontier, 8 Women Fight Their First Wildland Fire

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BLM women fire crew

Story and photos by Samantha Storms, Public Information Officer, Alaska Fire Service.

With more than 200 fires burning in mid-July in Alaska, the 2019 BLM Women’s Fire Crew received their first ever wildland fire assignment.
Traveling by plane, helicopter and boat, this eight woman crew headed to the Hadweenzic River Fire in the Upper Yukon of eastern Alaska with eager smiles.

BLM Wyoming and the Montana Conservation Corps, or MCC, started this crew in 2016, training women to be wildland firefighters. This program is a wonderful opportunity to introduce these young women to the world of wildland firefighting.

Looking back at the 2018 season, 11 of 12 crew members are still working in wildland fire jobs and the other started her career working for MCC. Through this partnership, all crew members are qualified chainsaw operators and when they are not on the fireline, they are working with BLM Wyoming on public lands restoration projects.

More details about each of the eight firefighters on the 2019 crew.

Below is a video featuring the 2017 BLM Women’s Fire crew at the Orleans Complex of fires on the Six Rivers National Forest in California. Video by Eric Coulter, BLM.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Rick Freimuth. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please keep in mind our commenting ground rules before you post a comment.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

11 thoughts on “From Big Sky to The Last Frontier, 8 Women Fight Their First Wildland Fire”

  1. Is this a legal hiring practice? How did this crew get public money and hire only women as a target? Just curious how that is legit under title IX protections.

  2. Roger Bratt, A Calendar is your first thought after learning about these talented, committed female fire fighters? No wonder women working in non-traditional fields face so many work-place challenges. My hope is that their male colleagues show them more respect than you have expressed and that their supervisor will take appropriate action in the event they are harassed. YMR

  3. Well Roger I would agree with YMR. How far did you think that statement would make it on a public forum? Use your head.

  4. Hey Roger? It seems you stirred something up in your “disrespect”. You said nothing disrespectful towards these women nor did you suggest any aspect of nudity, vulgarity or risqueness. What does that say of where the minds and thoughts of the other commenters are? Haven’t male firefighters done calendars as a means of raising funds? I’m curious what these ladies would have to say about your comment. As a 70 year-old I perceive again and again that there are just a lot of uptight and politically correct folk out there. LR

  5. The poster wasn’t giving kudos for a job well done instead it seems “his” mind focused on them doing a calendar. I’m not a politically correct person in any sense of the word Lone Ranger. Are you asking for a poll being taken on this forum to see what people’s opinion of the poster’s statement was?

  6. Maybe Roger should speak his intentions as to the comment he made Lone Ranger. As my last comment wasn’t published to you as per the moderator’s discretion I’m hoping this gets through. Inquiring minds want to know. I have worked with women crews and most of them have experienced comments such as Roger has stated and most of them have felt uncomfortable.

  7. I’m sorry Bill. There was a lag as you pointed out. I was gathering my thoughts as to what I posted and just mentioned that you the moderator has the discretion here. My comment wasn’t made to slight you on that. I feel strongly about respect in the work place for all and my experience on and off the work place is such that I have witnessed far too many times a disrespect in regards to women in general.

  8. 88% of federal firefighters are men and you’re worried about the legality of recruiting and hiring women? Wow.

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