REI Presents: Women in Fire

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Less than 10% of firefighters are women. But what these women lack in numbers, they make up for in guts and inspiration, paving the way for the next generation of women firefighters. Expanding the population of women who are in the wilderness firefighting profession is a goal of multiple organizations and agencies.

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WTREX is an intensive 12-day prescribed fire training exchange that combines live-fire training with indoor learning and discussion to advance participants’ qualifications and experience in wildland fire operations. WTREX engages both women and men in building a support network for female fire practitioners working to advance their leadership in wildland fire management.

WTREX is supported by Promoting Ecosystem Resiliency through Collaboration: Landscapes, Learning and Restoration, a cooperative agreement between The Nature Conservancy, USDA Forest Service and agencies of the Department of the Interior.

Organizations/agencies involved in WTREX 2017 (in no particular order)

  • Fire Learning Network
  • National Park Service
  • University of California Cooperative Extension
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • USDA Forest Service
  • North Carolina State University
  • Lafayette Fire Department
  • iWomen
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Firestorm Wildland Fire Suppression
  • Wildfire Defense Systems
  • Nevada Division of Forestry
  • Forest Fire Management Victoria
  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
  • Adaptive Restoration LLC
  • Yale School of Forestry
  • UC Davis
  • Wildland Restoration
  • International Bernalillo County Fire & Rescue
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs

There is also a darker side to the small number of women in firefighting - sexual harassment and assault. As reported in a PBS News reported: Rape, harassment and retaliation in the U.S. Forest Service: Women firefighters tell their stories