Well Anne, it looks like its just you and me ... how long have you been fighting fire in the wild lands? Im going into my 20th season...gotta love it!!!
So do you ever get discriminated against being a woman fire fighter? I find that some men will look right past me and start talking with my husband/crew member. Even though its clear that I am the boss! It frustrating sometimes, but its also comical and amusing .
That is a lot of seasons. I bet i could learn a lot from you. i'm going into my third fire season. my first season with the U.S. Forest Service. At first all men look at me like i can't keep up with them or that i am below them. but within a week i have earned their respect. i love proving people wrong it can be very motivating. So your husband is also your crew member?
So are you on a hand crew, or do you work an engine? I worked my first season on a forest service hand crew in 1989. I was a bit ... for lack of a better term.. 'anti government' in those days, so the following year I got work on a contract engine and moved into nengine boss status. Its pretty cool working with my husband. I know most people could not do it without killing themselves or each other. But we work real well together.. and he gets a kick out of peoples reactions when they realize that Im the boss... both at home and on the fire line. LOL! The best thing is that we never get that urge to go home to see the family, being together, we can stay out all season and not long for home. Also we know each other so well that our work just seems to come naturaly. We never have to guess what the other is doing, or take the time to figure it out. Its become so routine that sometimes I really have to concentrate on staying focused on the 'big picture'. My favorite thing though is when I am able to drive the type 4's on line. For some reason when men see a woman driving the larger trucks, it either turns them on or freaks them out completely! And my husband and I both grin and chuckle, knowing that I can out drive and out work most of them , even at 41 years old and a bit over weight.. and on a bad day! LOL ! I would love to share some stories with you sometime, I am very safety focused and feel that any kind of opportunity that we can get to gain a little more knowledge is a good opportunity. I seize every lesson I can from any source available. I think that that is what keeps us alive!!!!!
I'm on a type 3 engine. I don't start until April 27th though. Right now I'm taking a wildland firefighting academy at a community college in Redding. I just got my S-270, S-290, ICS-300 certs. This will be my third season. my first two were with the CCC. Which is a program for young adults to get their lifes together. anyone between 18-25 can join. It is amazing. they offer college classes for free give you scholorships. I got about 10 grand for college out of it. They pay you minimum wage. Most of the people are trail crew workers. But they have one fire crew which i was on. We do most of the same assignments as any type 2 handcrew. But they are defiantly looked down upon for the ages of the workers and past incidents. But the last 4 years they have really came up and hopefully will gain the respect they deserve. So you have fighting since 89??? where were you when storm king went?
I was on an engine assignment with Utah Fire Company working a fire in Neveda when we heard about the tragadies at Storm King Mountain. Our company made it a point to pull us off line to give the news because they knew that we were from the same region and possibly knew the victims.However we did not know any of them personally . But that day will still leave a whole in our hearts forever. I have read all of the investigation reports and all of the books printed about that day. There were so many things that could have and /or should have been done differntly. Though I am not sure any one thing would have made a difference. Just goes to show you the true and very real dangers we all face every day on the line. Because even the best of the best can get caught in a bad situation. That is the reason that I take every opportunity that I can get to learn more about staying alive. I will tell anyone any time with confidence that ours is the most safety conscious engine module on the fire line. I read all of the reports, and listen to all the stories that I can. My husband laughs at me occcasionaly, he says that i never leave the fire line. Because my whole life revolves around my job. Sounds like you have got a pretty good gig going yourself. It bothers me sometimes how some folks will talk like they are so much more than others,on the fire line, because of their age like you say, or being a woman or a mexican or prison crew. To me all is equal in green and yellow. Everybody works damn hard, some days more than others, but the tasks and the goals are always the same, and they always lead to the same end. We all get up way to early in the morning, work our fingers to the bones all days long, breathing nothing but fire and ash and dirt and smoke. We have all worked on an empty stomache,or gone to bed without a shower if we got to bed at all. I actually enjoy working along side these 'minorities' more so than some of the so called hardcore fire fighters. Often the women and the mexican crews are some of the hardest working fools out there!
WOW. same here in GA. Men look right past you unless you are offering COFFEE TEA CIGERETTES. Oh well they can get over it. we are here to stay. so they can kick rocks lol that means keep it moving in the south. mk