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What can life after wildland firefighting look like? With the issues facing wildland firefighters these days (including but not limited to: abysmal pay, nonexistent benefits and perpetually being let down by elected officials who suggest they might actually do something about it etc) many in this essential but overworked workforce are likely considering that question themselves.

After asking himself that question for years, today's guest Luke Mayfield finally got his answer in 2019, when he left his job as a hotshot captain to see what life outside of operational fire was all about. He now works as the fire program director at Mystery Ranch Backpacks, and is still very much involved the fire community—both through his policy work at Grassroots Wildland Firefighters and as an emergency fill-in for hotshot crews for the last four summers. He's also spent some time this spring talking to hotshot crews about mental health and general wellness during the fire season, which are topics that he's well-versed in after 18 years in fire.

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."

Media Record Details

May 12, 2023
Luke Mayfield

Cataloging Information

Organizational Culture & Identity

NRFSN number: 25553
Record updated: