Wildland firefighters experience a range of physical and mental health stressors, which scientists acknowledge can lead to short and long-term health effects. Current firefighter health research addresses topics such as smoke exposure, reproductive health, sleep, fitness, and chronic injuries. Firefighters working in hazardous situations can experience trauma, depression, harrassment, and/or substance abuse. The schedule demands of being away from family for long periods and working long shifts under difficult conditions also creates unique challenges. The impacts of these health concerns on individuals, and the greater wildland firefighter profession, are receiving increased attention from government agencies, researchers, health professionals, and the wildland firefighter community.
Many of the resources included in this hot topic were originally identified during a 3-day series of presentations and panel discussions, Wildland Firefighter Health Series: Current Knowledge for Body, Mind, and Well-being. During the series, professionals and agency leaders shared some of the current science, knowledge, and tools available to support wildland firefighter physical and mental health.