The Yosemite Women’s Fire Internship is part of a new pilot program launched last year to bring more women into wildland firefighting in the National Park Service (NPS). As wildfires worsen due to climate change and states like California deal with a growing shortage of firefighters, the need to diversify the workforce is as much about practicality as it is about equity. Only about 12% of wildland firefighters are women, and even less ascend to leadership positions. The 10-week program – plus all-women crews in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park and a newly launched program in Alaska’s national parks – is aiming to provide a smoother entry for women, giving them the opportunity to become certified for federal wildland firefighting in a more welcoming environment. The NPS’ strategic plan aims to double the amount of women fighting wildland fires in the parks by 2024 through training and mentorship.

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