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Female firefighters help battle Erskine FIre

Posted at 3:20 PM, Jul 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-03 18:20:10-04

The Erskine fire continues to dwindle, thanks to the thousands of firefighters containing the blaze.

 And although the majority of crews consist of men, there are also women fighting the flames.

"I understand that they would think of men out here, but uh, we're out here too and I think it's pretty cool," said Hannah Key, who is one of two women from the Sierra National Forest crew helping battle the Erskine fire.

"We put them out and so that's why I'm dirty."

The 26-year-old hotshot jumped into the demanding career right out of high school when she was 18.

"It's not something that I wanted to do. I wanted to be a pastry chef," she said.

Key said most people usually assume men are out in the front lines putting out thousand-acre wildfires, but women are also out there, right next to the guys.

"Women are a lot stronger than you think we are. And I'd like that idea to start changing. And I think that it has been."

Key has been working on the Erskine fire for a week now, putting in more than 15 hours a day in 100-degree weather, carrying more than 50 pounds worth of gear and tools.

"The stigma is that we are women, we're not as strong, that we don't work as hard but, I don't believe that. Every woman that I've worked with has worked twice as hard," she said.

And the ladies don't have it easy. Their expectations are just as challenging as the men.

"We go on the same hikes, we carry the same weight. We're expected to do the same amount of pushups. Absolutely we train the same."

Key wants people to know that during fire season, women are few but they're out their risking their lives, protecting communities.

"We try harder because we want to make that point that we are strong enough and we want to do it without an ego."

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