Friday, May 16, 2014

Three Southern Utah Forests Launch Women in Wildland Fire Program

Women in Wildland Fire logo

The southern Utah spring is starting out dry and crackly again.  The Dixie, Fishlake and Manti-La Sal National Forests have been hard at work finding women who want to experience wildland fire, to expand their firefighting workforce.

After an outreach effort to recruit women interested in this program this fall and winter, 22 successful applicants will be taking the arduous pack test, consisting of a three-mile hike carrying a 45-pound vest, in the early part of May.  The pack test is usually conducted on a track and must be completed in 45 minutes or less. 

A 40 hour Basic Fire School where the candidates will learn about the fire triangle (fuel, heat and oxygen) fire tools, weather and topography is next on the agenda, concluding with an actual live fire exercise.  Two will be held, one near Cedar City and one in Moab. 

At the end of this training, these enthusiastic women will be ready to support the regular fire forces as emergency employees.  They will gain valuable experience and will have a chance to compete for seasonal jobs next year. 

During interviews many of the candidates expressed great excitement at “the chance for my dream job” and “the opportunity to get paid to be outdoors.” All the participants see this program as a chance to “check it out.”  Program Manager Linda Chappell says, “I am so pleased with the results of our outreach efforts.  I really feel we have some good candidates who were just looking for a chance to get their foot in the door.”

The Women in Wildland Fire Program is intended to recruit interested women, and give them training and job skills so that they can apply for seasonal positions next season.  This opportunity will introduce participants to careers in wildland fire management, along with other opportunities available in the Forest Service.  A mentoring program accompanies the program to empower these candidates.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. 

  • Heather McLean 435-260-2871
  • Linda Chappell 435-896-1628

Are you doing something to promote the Women in Wildland Fire? We would like to hear your stories. 

Is there a special leader (male or female) that you think should be recognized for their accomplishments?

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