Wildfire boot camp for women

Boot camp students learn fire-line tasks.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management Vale District plans its annual Women in Wildland Fire Boot Camp over the Oct. 11-13 and Oct. 18-20 weekends.

Applications are due Sept. 6. Selection notification is scheduled Sept. 13.

Participants who complete the program over both weekends will be certified as wildland firefighters. They will be eligible to apply for seasonal employment or on-call positions.

Of the 20 participants who graduated in 2018, about a dozen got firefighting jobs with land agencies or local departments, District Dispatch Center Manager Cassandra Andrews-Fleckenstein said.

Vale District BLM last year started offering the program, which the USDA Forest Service has used for about five years.

“We see a lot of women in our temporary and lower-level positions, but not a lot are staying in for management positions as often,” Andrews-Fleckenstein said. By increasing the number of women at lower levels, “hopefully some can make it into higher levels.”

The camp, held in a remote southeastern Oregon duty station, covers the basics of wildfire behavior, suppression, strategy, safety, equipment and tactics as well as incident management. Graduates apply for firefighting jobs in November and December. Before being officially hired the following June, they must walk three miles in less than 45 minutes while wearing a 45-pound pack.

Camp applicants must be 18 by June 2020.

Information: Andrews-Fleckenstein at 541-473-6295 or candrews@blm.com

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