All-Female Firefighter Crew on First Assignment in Alaska
An all-female firefighting crew has been sent out on its first assignment in Alaska. The women will be heading to the eastern part of Alaska, in an effort to help out as more than 200 fires have been burning throughout the state. The crew of eight, known as the 2019 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Women’s Fire Crew, is a partnership between the BLM of Wyoming and the Montana Conservation Corps. Both departments came together in 2016 to train women to be wildland firefighters. The women are qualified chainsaw operators and work on public lands restoration projects when they aren’t working on the fireline. The United States has more than 1.1 million firefighters, with women representing 7%. Last year, Spokane, Wash. organized an all-female firefighting crew to work a shift, the first of its kind in the area. The Realist Woman’s take: Stories like this are everything. Women can do everything. It’s so inspiring and empowering to know that women are working alongside our male firefighters to save lives, homes, parks, animals, you name it. In my research for this story, I did learn that while there are more programs dedicated to training women for the job, women have faced sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. That’s not completely surprising. This is a male-dominated field and unfortunately, there are bound to be issues regarding sexism and sexual harassment. Lawsuits have addressed these issues and hopefully, attitudes towards women in this field will change for the better.