America’s National Parks Podcast

Mary Kwart: Wildland Fire Pioneer

August 18, 2021

 

As fires rage across the west in what will likely be the worst year for wildland fires on record, brave people face them head-on, to save our structures and our lives. The fraternity of American firefighters has always been a boys club — today only about 4% are women. And wildland firefighters even more so. In the early 1980s, one woman was among the first to join the Arrowhead Interagency Hotshots, an elite National Park Service crew, stationed at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks in California. 

The text of today's episode comes from Women’s Voices: Women in the National Park Service Oral History Project and the audio comes from an oral history interview conducted by Lu Ann Jones and Leah Baer of the National Park Service Park History Program earlier this year. 

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