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Crow Firefighters Sent Out Their First Day; Training Sees Fewer Recruits

Leah Firefighter.jpg
Bureau of Indian Affairs Forestry & Wildfire Management Crow Agency
Leah Takesenemy, first-year firefighter, July 2021

This year’s class of Crow reservation rookie firefighters were sent to their first blaze the same day they graduated rookie school.

The Buffalo Pasture fire earlier this month became a training ground for Crow firefighting rookies to test out newly learned skills. How fire works chemically, different approaches to fighting fire, and how to stay safe were all part of the curriculum.

Carl Big Hair ran the rookie school and says the opportunity for hands-on experience was an excellent way to test what they learned over the week training. “This was a good opportunity for them. To experience the whole thing to actually dig a line right on the fire,” Big Hair says.

Big Hair says he sees the need for more firefighters in the near future, especially as the fire season is expected to become more intense as summer continues.

Last year, the Crow Reservation had 21 rookie firefighters, this year only seven. Second-year firefighter Deshawna Anderson says that while there are fewer rookies this year, she’s impressed with their quality.

“I feel like more of them are more determined to firefight. I see them more on the line. And willing to dig line and get things done,” Anderson says. “I feel like this fire season is a lot hotter than last year.”

Taylar Stagner is Yellowstone Public Radio's Report for America Indigenous Affairs reporter.

Taylar Stagner covers tribal affairs for Yellowstone Public Radio.