Fighting wildfires on an all-female crew in Alaska

  • Source: University of Minnesota News
  • Published: 03/15/2023 12:00 AM

Millions of acres of U.S. lands are burned each year in wildfires. In the summer of 2022, nearly half of those acres were in Alaska. In fact, more of the Bristol Bay region in southwest Alaska burned during the summer of 2022 than burned collectively in the same area between 1950 and 2021. Bristol Bay is where University of Minnesota sophomore Amital Shaver spent her summer learning to fight wildland fires. Shaver was part of a newly launched, all-women conservation corps crew hosted by the National Park Service (NPS) in conjunction with the Student Conservation Association. After a successful pilot program in 2021 in Yosemite and Grand Teton National Parks, this past summer NPS sent an all-female crew, including Shaver, to Alaska. Only 5 percent of wildland firefighters are women, and only 2 percent are in leadership positions, says Missy Forder, a national fire planner for NPS.


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