If you watch firefighters marching toward a wildfire, you will likely see heroism, bravery, and grit. What you may not notice is the women rolling up their too-long pant legs and hiking up their waistbands as they work beside the men.
Their uniforms, which are technically made for women but are really just minimally altered men’s sizes, sometimes rub them in uncomfortable places, causing them to bleed and chafe. They struggle to keep their pants and sleeves folded up and the loose fabric regularly snags on brush. While battling to simply keep their garments in place, they work in difficult terrain and around volatile flames for days to weeks to months at a time, usually wearing the same shirt and pants almost daily.
That’s the reality for more than 10,000 women in wildland firefighting in the United States. “And so, when you’re performing a physically tasking job like that, you need to be comfortable. You need to be wearing something that fits you so you can move with ease. So, that’s a huge, huge issue,” said Korena Hallam. Hallam and Summer Hurd are out to change that as the co-founders of Green Buffalow, which is based in Fort Collins.