Camp Cinder kicked off Thursday in San Luis Obispo. It’s a five-day camp dedicated to introducing young women between the ages of 14 and 18 to careers in the fire service.
This year, 20 girls from across California were chosen to go through the training.
“This camp is very much hands-on. It is legitimate experience for them - they are using real tools and getting real-life experience as a firefighter," said Christina Favuzzi, Montecito Fire Department Public Information Officer.
Real-life experiences include auto extrication, climbing ladders, and wildland fire training.
But it’s not just learning the skills and undergoing training for these girls. It’s also about breaking barriers in a male-dominated industry.
“This experience meant a lot to me cause not only do I see all of them, they already made it, they’re already successful, but it also makes me feel like if they can do it, I can do it," said participant Kiyara Cruz.
“I think it’s good that it’s run by women because it shows like younger girls that it’s okay to step out of your comfort zone and there’s more opportunity than you may think," said camper Bella Tanguay.
The camp is completely funded by CAL FIRE and supported by local agencies on the Central Coast.
The camp will continue through Sunday. The girls will have the opportunity to undergo different areas of training and also become CPR certified.
Applications for next year's camp open in November and can be found on CAL FIRE's website.