Firefighting camp seeks female recruits

The Yukon Fire Marshall's Office is reaching out to a demographic that might not otherwise consider a career in firefighting: women.

The Yukon Fire Marshall’s Office is reaching out to a demographic that might not otherwise consider a career in firefighting: women.

This August the group will run a week-long firefighting camp for girls and women ages 16-25. It’s free, and the idea is to get more women thinking about firefighting.

Kiara Adams is the first and only woman ever hired as a full-time firefighter in the Yukon.

She’s always trying to convince others of the benefits of her chosen profession, she said.

“It’s just such a fantastic thing to get involved in for a young person,” said Adams. “I try with anybody and everybody.”

She started out as a volunteer at Mount Lorne’s fire department when she was only 15.

But that got old, after a while.

“It kind of lost its spark for me. I got a little bit bored, I guess.”

After a short hiatus Adams joined on with the Whitehorse Fire Department, and was quickly excited by both the increased call volume and the expanded set of technical skills required.

“Within a couple of months of being a recruit with the city I was like, ‘Yeah, this is what I want to do.’”

Being the only woman in the Whitehorse department can be challenging, but it’s not something she spends a lot of time considering, said Adams.

“To be honest I don’t think about it a whole bunch, because it’s just kind of the way it is.

“That being said, it would be fantastic to have some females at the department.”

Adams will be the deputy chief of the upcoming Camp Ember Fire Academy and one of its primary instructors.

James Paterson, Yukon’s deputy fire marshall, has been working hard to organize the camp.

There’s no real difference between the skill set or level of female and male firefighters, he said.

“I believe that women can do the job equally.”

It was a lesson he learned early on, fighting one of his very first fires alongside a female classmate.

“I ran out of steam, long before she did. I remember we were doing salvage and overhaul on the first floor of this building and we were pulling ceiling down with pike poles, and it’s a fairly strenuous job on the shoulders, but after about 10 minutes I was gassed, I was out of energy, but she was able to just keep going.”

The real benefit of getting more women thinking about firefighting is simply expanding the pool of potential firefighters, he said.

Adams agrees.

“There’s a lot of potential, I think. Half the population is female, and that’s a lot of potential of really good firefighters that isn’t being used,” she said.

The target audience for Camp Ember is young women who are fit and interested in a challenging and physically active career.

Over the week they will learn firefighting skills, including interior firefighting, exterior operations, high angle work and automative rescue. The camp will also focus on health, nutrition, fitness and wellness.

After completing the camp staff can help guide cadets to one of Yukon’s 16 volunteer fire departments, towards a career job or towards a formal education in firefighting.

Close to a quarter of Yukon’s 250 volunteer firefighters are women.

The camp will run from August 11 through 15, and applications are due July 31.

For more information visit Camp Ember Fire Academy – Yukon on Facebook.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wyatt's World for Oct. 28, 2020.

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 28.… Continue reading

Yukon Child Care Board chair Amy Ryder says the board could be playing a bigger role in childcare policy making if they had more financial support from the Yukon government. (Submitted)
Yukon Child Care Board asks for larger role in annual report

The board is asking for a larger budget to increase outreach and advice

Yukon’s clocks will no longer change in March and November but will remain permanently on Pacific Daylight Saving Time. (Courtesy Yukon government)
Off the clock: Yukon prepares to end seasonal time changes

Starting on Nov. 1 Yukon will be one hour ahead of Vancouver and two hours ahead of Alaska

Dawson City as scene from West Dawson. Art Webster, the vice-chair of the Dawson Regional Planning Commission resigned last month over the Yukon governments unwillingness to pause speculative staking. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Vice-chair resigns from Dawson land-use planning commission

NDP warns that not pausing mining activity is the road to a second Peel decision

The opening ceremonies of the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg on July 28, 2017. The 2021 Canada Summer Games have officially been rescheduled for Aug. 6 to 21, 2022, exactly one year from the date the national competition was originally set to take place in the Niagara region of Ontario. (Canada Summer Games/Flickr)
Canada Summer Games dates set for 2022 but uncertainty remains for Yukon athletes

Yukon athletes continue waiting to get back into schools

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services that will see a new reception building at Robert Service Campground decided city councillors during the Oct. 26 council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local firms will get advantage on contract for new Robert Service Campground building

Yukon-based companies competing for contract for new reception building will receive 20 extra points

Fallen trees due to strong winds are seen leaning on to power lines which caused some power outages around the territory on Oct. 26. (Courtesy of ATCO)
Wind knocks out power around the Yukon

High winds on Oct. 26 knocked out power to Faro, parts of Whitehorse and beyond

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read