The physical and mental impacts of fighting wildfires

The conditions they must endure to protect Idahoans quality of life makes them heroes.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 5:44 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Rangeland firefighters are currently battling numerous blazes across Idaho, and the conditions they must endure to protect Idahoans quality of life makes them heroes.

During the summer fire season firefighters may have to battle fires in 100-degree heat and intense humidity. Some might have to also to carry 100 pounds worth of equipment and wear heavy clothing.

A forestry professor at the University of Idaho says firefighters often must deal with sleep deprivation and chronic dehydration.

He also said it’s not uncommon for firefighter to suffer from PTSD if they have been near a fatality or horrific event.

“Some of these classes that Brett Rodgers and I have been teaching, it’s just an awareness thing, and a lot of people don’t like to talk about it. So, when they go through our courses, we try to get them to open-up, talk about past experiences.” Said Randell Brooks from the University of Idaho.

Brooks says it is not uncommon for fighters to have a high suicide rate, but states and agencies are doing a lot better job of getting the fighters the resources they need for mental health.

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