Bobbie Scopa has had quite a long and storied fire career—she recently retired after 45 years working in both wildland and municipal fire, during which she worked her way into the Chief position and into numerous leadership positions over her career with the Forest Service. Notably, she was present on the Dude Fire in 1990, where six firefighters were tragically killed, and even served at Ground Zero after 9/11. But Bobbie's story doesn't start and end with firefighting. She's also a trans woman, and has experienced the fire world as both a man and woman, having transitioned to female between fire seasons in the late 1980s. This gives Bobbie an exceedingly rare perspective on gender dynamics on the fireline—perspectives that she now shares widely through her podcast, Bobbie on Fire, as well as her new book, Both Sides of the Fireline, which is available for pre-order and will be released this fall. Through it all, Bobbie maintains an incredible ability to tell stories that serve not only as valuable lessons learned, but often as funny and relatable anecdotes for anyone who has worked in fire—and especially for those who are underrepresented in the fire space.
This media record is part of a series:
Life With Fire
From the Life With Fire website: "What are the benefits of prescribed burning? Why have wildfires gotten so severe lately? How can I help protect my home and community? Life With Fire podcast aims to answer these questions (and many others) while deepening our understanding of the critical role fire plays in America’s forests, lands and communities. Hosted by writer and former wildland firefighter Amanda Monthei, Life with Fire features interviews with everyone from scientists to fire management experts to Indigenous practitioners and folks doing the work on the ground. Through these interviews, Amanda hopes to explore our relationship with fire, as well as ways we can better coexist with it in the future."