Post Independent photo essay: Females fighting fire | PostIndependent.com

Post Independent photo essay: Females fighting fire

A crew woman carries her chainsaw to her work area while training on the June Creek Project located south of Silt last week.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The Bureau of Land Management recently partnered with the Western Colorado Conservation Corps and is helping to fund the work of crew members working for WCCC.

This year was the first year the corps put together an all-female fire crew in Colorado. The women came from all across the United States to work on fuels projects and are on-call for any fires that require assistance in the state.

A crew woman speaks with another crewmate while cutting down heavy oakbrush as part of the June Creek Project. The women worked to build a fire line along a horse and foot hiking trail, which will later be utilized during a prescribed burn.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
A crew woman works to clear brush from the trail after it has been cut down by another crewmate.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The goal of the program is to increase diversity in the fire program by creating entry-level opportunities to help with recruitment. The women are learning skills that will be helpful in getting a position with a wildland fire program in BLM or other land management agencies.

Marissa Wyatt, age 22, from Florida was inspired to go into this line of work by a former project sponsor who was an older female firefighter.

Women participating in the wildland fire training program hike to and camp out during their work week, which consists of four 10-hour shifts at different project areas each week.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent
An example of the thick oak brush the group spent the week working to clear along the horse trail. The trail will eventually serve as the fire line in a future prescribed burn as part of the June Creek Project south of Silt.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

“I have a great group of women to work with out here, and the work is really empowering,” she said. “Running chainsaws all day — you really can’t beat it.”

The group of women with the Western Colorado Conservation Corps head down to continue working on the June Creek Project located south of Silt.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

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