Fire Management

100th Candidate Graduates from Los Padres Women in Wildfire Training Program

Los Padres National Forest Supervisor Kevin Elliott (right) and Lead Instructor Lyndsay Alarcon (left) pause for a photo with Kirsty Frederick, the 100th graduate of the Women in Wildfire Training Camp Nov. 8 in Santa Barbara. Women in Wildfire Training Camp participants spent part of the week in the field performing suppression techniques including line construction and hose lays. The Fire Cadre used realistic training scenarios involving the participants of the 5th Annual Women in Wildfire Training Camp held Nov. 3-8 in Santa Barbara.



The Los Padres National Forest successfully completed its 5th Women in Wildfire Training Camp that was held November 3 through 8 in Santa Barbara, Calif., at the Circle V Ranch Camp. Thirteen women from around the country completed the extensive 6-day, 5-night event, including the arduous level Wildland Firefighter Physical Agility Test, a 3-mile walk while wearing a 45-pound weight vest – that had to be completed in less than 45 minutes. Participants underwent rigorous physical exercises and drills typical for wildland firefighters and they were tested mentally during the classroom portions before receiving their fire certification.

This year's graduates raised the total number of women who’ve graduated from the Training Camp to 100 since its inception in 2014.

Skilled Fire Cadre provided quality instruction, coaching, and leadership to the students throughout the weeklong training. Additionally, participants received mentorship from previous Training Camp Graduates who subsequently began careers in fire with the Forest Service. Graduates have developed the personal drive needed to be successful firefighters and are now more likely to persevere in a male-dominated field due to the support system created at the camp.

Training Camp Graduate Kirsty Frederick inspired Camp coordinators and her fellow camp participants during the graduation ceremony where she delivered a rousing speech.

"Five days ago when we all met up for the pack test, we were complete strangers," Frederick said. "Now we're lifelong friends. We pushed one another beyond our limits, we carried one another when we were weak…we are not the same people we were five days ago."

Frederick spoke about the impact the Training Camp had on her and her fellow students.

"This has been such a growing experience. We're more capable, more empowered – we’re a team."

Firefighting professionals, Los Padres staff officers, as well as community leaders such as Congressman Salud Carbajal's field staffer attended the ceremony to support the graduates.

"This has been an incredible opportunity to learn about wildland firefighting, but I also believe these are life lessons that we can take with us no matter where we go," Frederick said.

The graduation ceremony marked another successful event, a demonstrated commitment to future Training Camps, and a renewed motivation for women in fire careers.

The Training Camp has resulted in graduates becoming competitive and committed candidates, applying for jobs, and ultimately receiving employment year after year. A special thanks to Circle V Ranch Camp for allowing us to host the event using their facilities for four of the five training camps the Forest has hosted.