BLM firefighters compete in a physical fitness challenge

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Billings Veterans Fire Team. (BLM photo by Cody Phillips)

By Karly DeMars, BLM State Fire Planner; and Chris Barth, BLM State Fire Mitigation and Education Specialist

Physical fitness is essential to the performance, mental health and safety of firefighters. For example, fatigue has been shown to be a contributing factor in many firefighter accidents. To encourage physical fitness, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) sponsors the annual BLM Fire Operations Fitness Challenge. The Volunteer Fitness Challenge provides a common system by which BLM firefighters can measure current fitness, set fitness goals, track fitness improvement, and receive recognition for their efforts.

Recently, several forest firefighters from BLM Montana / Dakotas participated in the annual BLM Fire Operations Fitness Challenge. The highest rated male and female participants from Montana / Dakotas were recognized for their achievements. Both are North Central Montana District firefighters and work at the Zortman Fire Station. First-year seasonal firefighter Jessica Race was the top female participant and third-year seasonal firefighter Kevin Henry was the top male participant. Participants who obtained a level 4 (300 points) were also recognized for their achievements.

BLM Fitness Winners
Left: Kevin Henry, a third-year firefighter from the North Central Montana / Zortman Fire Station district, presents his award for being the top performing male participant in Montana / Dakotas in the 2021 BLM Fire Operations Fitness Challenge. ( Photo by Karly DeMars). Right: Jessica Race, a first-year firefighter from the North Central Montana / Zortman Fire Station district, carries a chainsaw after completing work on the project this summer. Jess is Montana / Dakotas’ top performing participant in the 2021 BLM Fire Operations Fitness Challenge. (BLM Photo by Jessica Race)

“The fitness and well-being of firefighters is the foundation for maintaining a healthy and resilient workforce to meet the demands of the job. BLM Montana / Dakotas encourages all of our firefighting staff and partners to participate in high quality training and fitness activities for the challenges they face, ”said Aaron Thompson, Head of Fire Management. BLM Montana / Dakotas fires. “Although the BLM Fire Operations Fitness Challenge is voluntary, Montana / Dakota firefighters participate regularly in this annual event, and we are proud of Kevin and Jessica for their accomplishments. “

The BLM Fire Operations Fitness Challenge tests participants in four basic exercises: push-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and a timed 1.5 or 3.0 mile run. Participants are assessed using a point system for each exercise category. Success is ranked in level increments where level 1 is the minimum level and level 5 is the maximum fitness level.

Congratulations to all participants of the BLM Fire Operations Fitness Challenge 2021!

For more information on BLM’s Fire Operations Fitness Challenge, visit: www.nifc.gov/about-us/our-partners/blm/training/fitness-challenge.


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