US Forest Service looking to hire more women wildland firefighters

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The US Forest Service is looking for a few good women interested in a career in wildland firefighting.

A group of 25 women just completed a five-day wildland fire training camp in Los Padres National Forest.

It's a profession dominated by men, but the US Forest Service hopes to bridge the gender gap on the fire lines without preferential treatment. There are no guarantees after graduation, but the women get a sense of how hard the job is and if they want to keep going. "As long as you work hard, and you're heart's in it, they are going to respect you for it," said Emily Hovendick, forestry tech.

"We see the benefit of having male and females working together. Organizations that have a more balanced percentage of representation thrive," explained Batt. Chief Jay Enns, Santa Barbara Ranger District.

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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