USA– Twenty-five women completed a wildland fire training camp with the U.S. Forest Service.
The five day camp took place in the Los Padres National Forest.
In a classroom setting, the women learned about basic firefighting techniques, safety, strategy and fire behavior.
They also got hands on training in the field.
Santa Barbara Ranger District Battalion Chief Jay Enns said the forest service wants to encourage more women to pursue fire careers.
“We see the benefit of having male and females working together. Organizations that have a more balanced percentage of representation, thrive,” said Enns.
Participation in the training camp is not a guarantee of employment, but provides a glimpse into what the job is really like.
If and where the women apply, is up to them.
“Just like we would do training at the beginning of every season, they’re getting that hands on experience and exposure. So they can ask themselves at the end of the training, ‘Is this for me? ‘Do I want to do this?'” Enns said.
Fifteen women participated in the previous camp. Three women got seasonal jobs on engines and four got on-call jobs.
The program is funded by a federal grant aimed at diversity.
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*In light of the drought, limited water was used. The unused water was funneled back through hoses and into the trucks.