Sofia Huston panted heavily as she pushed to close the gap between herself and the colleague in front.
Clad in bright yellow heavy-duty uniforms, hard hats and gloves, the crew trudged up “Cardiac Hill”, a grueling terrain south-east of Santa Clarita, in Los Angeles county, and so steep “you could kiss the ground in front of you”.
The 50-minute-long training session left Huston, who weighs 113lb and wears 45lb of line gear plus a 25lb chainsaw strapped to her back, exhausted beyond anything she’d felt before. “I could feel the fatigue literally in my womb,” the 23-year-old says.
Huston is a hotshot – a firefighter who battles wildfires. She hasn’t had a period in three years, something she attributes to the physical intensity of the job, and the brutal training sessions crews are put through.
Oh, they are rethinking this total equality thing already:
Women in Fire, an organization representing and advocating for women in the industry, including hotshots, is working to promote policies that would secure light duty for pregnant women and breastfeeding for new mothers, says its president, Amy Hanifan.
That second wave demand for total equality didn’t last all that long then, did it?