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Rx Fire Leadership for Women Module

Women make up only 10% of the wildland firefighting community. The National Interagency Prescribed Fire Training Center (NIPFTC) aims to use prescribed (Rx) fire as a catalyst to bring women together to become strong and assertive leaders, and to enhance longevity and success for women in wildland fire management.

During the session, students will experience hands-on burning in complex situations such as wildland urban interface, various fuel types, working for several different agencies with unique management objectives. Students will gain up-to-date knowledge on prescribed fire safety, prescribed fire planning, smoke screening tools, monitoring, and current fire policy. They will also learn how prescribed fire practitioners have developed successful programs and public support.

The variety of field experience, along with the different prescriptions, planning procedures, and techniques of the various agencies, offers an accelerated learning program that will increase the home unit's capacity in fire management leadership. Student progress is documented through training assignments and completion of tasks in NWCG Position Task Books.

Session Objectives
  • Discuss perspectives from working in a male dominated environment (e.g., challenging supervisors, barriers to long-term fire roles, family/life choices, experiences of seeking positions in leadership alongside men).
  • Establish a network of women committed to pursuing long-term careers in wildland fire management.
  • Find mentors who are invaluable for career progression.
  • Compare thoughts with counterparts facing similar struggles, and those who are successfully working in fire-related careers.
  • Gain practical leadership experience as RXB2, FIRB, ENGB, FEMO, FFT1 among other NWCG Position Task Books.
  • Enhance strengths and improve upon weaknesses.
  • Improve self-confidence.
  • Interact one-on-one with experienced prescribed fire practitioners from across the country to gain a better understanding of fire regimes, condition classes, ignition techniques, smoke management, and fire effects.
  • Gain an understanding of prescribed fire as an essential tool in land management while implementing key elements of a successful fuels program in wildland and urban landscapes.
  • Enhance prescribed fire knowledge and skills through practical, experiential learning for a myriad of ecological objectives.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform as a trainee, safely and effectively, in prescribed fire related positions on multiple burn assignments that are designed to help facilitate completion of NWCG Position Task Books.
  • Perform in leadership roles that will benefit home unit's fire program.
  • Plan and implement prescribed burns for various agencies (including federal, state, local, tribal, and non-governmental organizations) that may have different methodologies, objectives, and operational capabilities.
  • Experience fire monitoring elements through hands-on application to assess the effectiveness of fire treatments in meeting objectives.
  • Share experiences and backgrounds with other participants from different agencies, geographical areas, and countries to build a network of contacts.

Upcoming Dates and Schedule

January Session: 01/07/2024 through 01/26/2024

February Session: 02/11/2024 through 03/01/2024

March Session: 03/10/2024 through 03/29/2024

  • The schedule consists of an orientation with presentations covering safety in the southeast, ignition techniques, fire research, and lessons learned, followed by field trips covering fire planning and implementation, fuels, research and ecology, and wildlife and fire. Burning will occur at cooperator sites located within the southeast. Federal, state, and private cooperators may be visited during this timeframe. On the last day, students will closeout with NIPFTC Staff.
  • The session includes interaction with active federal and state prescribed fire programs. The selected session start/end point will be Tallahassee, Florida. During the session, students will move within the geographic region to take advantage of burning windows and programs. This will necessitate changing lodging multiple times during the session.

How to Apply

The application deadline for all 2024 sessions is October 15, 2023.  Applications will not be accepted after close.

  • Applications are completed on the Wildland Fire Learning Portal. Click on the following: FLFW 20-Day Session Application and you will be redirected to the login page. Login with your Wildland Fire Learning Portal credentials and click on "Enroll Me." From there you should be able to complete the application. 
  • If you don't have a Wildland Fire Learning Portal account, follow the directions for creating one on the login page. Once you receive notification that you have an account, come back to this page and follow the above directions.

Cost and Requirements
  • There is no tuition. All costs for travel, per diem, salary, and overtime will be the responsibility of the sending unit. NIPFTC will provide transportation during the session.
  • All students must have watched the video "The New Generation Fire Shelter" (NFES-2712). Students must also arrive with appropriate PPE.

Quotes from Past Students

“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 is 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."

Contacts for Additional Information
Jen Rabuck - NIMO Safety and Risk Program Specialist
Cell: (715) 661-0579


Deb Flowers - Region 4 Prescribed Fire Specialist
Cell: (307) 250-2436