Women make up only 10% of the wildland firefighting community. The goal of the National Interagency Prescribed Fire Training Center (PFTC) is to encourage leadership on the fireline (from entry level to upper management) using prescribed fire as a catalyst to bring women together to become strong and assertive leaders; to challenge themselves; enhance strengths and improve upon weaknesses; creating a support network, enhancing longevity and success for women in wildland fire management.
Over the course of their 20 day training assignment, participants will gain confidence in their own ability to conduct prescribed fires and assume leadership roles in their home unit’s fire program. Students will experience 10 - 12 days of hands-on burning in such situations as wildland urban interface, a variety of fuel types, and for several different agencies with unique management objectives. Participants will interact one-on-one with experienced prescribed fire practitioners from across the Southeast United States and gain a better understanding of fire regimes, condition classes, firing techniques, smoke management, and fire effects.
What students can expect to get from the session
- Discussions on perspectives from working in a male dominated world – challenging supervisors, barriers to long-term fire roles, family/life choices, practical experiences of working alongside men for positions in leadership.
- Establish a network of women committed to pursuing long-term careers in wildland fire management.
- Find mentors who are invaluable for career progression.
- Improve self-confidence.
- Gain practical leadership experience as RXBB, FIRB, ENGB & FFT1.
- Compare thoughts with counterparts facing similar struggles, and those who are successfully working in fire-related careers.
The FLFW application is the same as for anyone applying to attend one of PFTC’s 20-day sessions with the addition of a KSA question for those interested in attending one of these three modules. Please take time to give thoughtful consideration towards this question and your answer.
Quotes from the Participants
“Your participation in this training has shown marked improvement in how you interpret your experiences in the agency. The exposure to this program has helped you gain confidence in your ability as a Regional Fire Coordinator and an understanding of operating in the day-to-day environment. Additionally the exposure to peers who have experienced the same challenges you have, and the understanding of those challenges has given you tools and skills in interactions with others. I hope that other female employees within our agency benefit from your exposure to this program, and have an opportunity to attend.”
“FLFW has given me the opportunity to perform my duties on my comfort level but also gave me confidence in my abilities by encouraging me beyond my comfort level.”
“I felt more comfortable in this type of setting with my peers to perform in some of those difficult training positions and felt supported and less judged.”
“Seeing a group of women work together reinforced for me the differences in men’s and women’s communication styles in a general sense, and the need for women to be able to find a middle ground when trying to bridge that gap between who they are as individuals and who they need to be as leaders in a male dominated industry.”
“Before starting my session with PFTC I didn't think that I wanted to pursue some of the higher qualifications as a wildland firefighter. I had my mind set that I would be a FFT1 and be happy with that. However, after the three weeks of being around these awesome highly qualified women, now I want more for my career with fire.
My new goal it to become qualified as a firing boss. I didn't expect to feel that way when I started this program.”
“This has inspired me to keep pursuing fire as a career – to know that I have a solid support network of women that I can rely on makes the journey easier and more tangible. It is an amazing feeling to finally know I am not alone.”
“It influenced my ability to learn. I was able to focus on obtaining skills and knowledge rather than managing social approval.”
For Additional Information Contact
Jen Rabuck – Wildland Fire Safety Specialist – NPS, NIFC
Deb Flowers – Zone Fuels AFMO – Caribou-Targhee NF, Teton Basin RD
Cheryl Bright – Fire Planner – BIA, NIFC