The All-Woman Wildland Firefighting Project

Press Release: Charl Steenkamp – Brand Manager
10 December 2019

Photo: Charl Steenkamp

In a bid to increase feet on the ground for an ever changing fire season in the Western Cape, NCC Environmental Services, in partnership with Chrysalis Academy, the Consulate General of the United States in Cape Town and the Department of Community Safety in the Western Cape, is embarking on an exciting journey to uplift and empower fifteen women by training and employing them as wildland firefighters.

The All-Woman Wildland Firefighting Project is the brainchild of Dean Ferreira, Managing Director of NCC Environmental Services. With over 30 years of wildfire management experience, Dean has long been envisaging an all-woman wildland firefighting team.  Currently women are not adequately represented in this sector with many people still believing that firefighting is not a suitable occupation for women. In partnership with Dr Lucille Meyer, the CEO of Chrysalis Academy, the team at NCC Environmental Services is attempting to address the under representation of women in this industry while simultaneously providing life changing opportunities to vulnerable youth. Ferreira says: “Over time they will stand shoulder to shoulder – not male or female, just one.”

Over 90% of the crew comes from female headed households in Phillipi, Retreat, Mfuleni, Khayelitsha, Capricorn Park and Macassar, all of which have a legacy of poverty and violence. They have all completed a 3-month course at Chrysalis Academy, where they received holistic training and development opportunities which includes life skills and psycho-social counselling.  NCC will now take this a step further and provide them with occupationally directed firefighting training including Basic Wildland Firefighting, Helitack Training and other conservation courses. They will also be provided with experiential opportunities to perform active firefighting.

The All-Woman Wildland Firefighting Project was established on 25 November and is currently a one year project aimed at providing employment opportunities and training to the fifteen young women currently enrolled in the program.

Media Inquiries:

Charl Steenkamp
Brand Manager & Information Specialist
NCC Environmental Services (Pty) Ltd
M: +27 673309428
T:  +27 21 702 2884

Follow this journey on the various NCC Environmental Services social media platforms and feel free to contact NCC Environmental Services for more information or if you want to get involved or make a donation towards the initiative.

The All-Woman Wildland Firefighting Project would not be possible without the help of all our sponsors and partners.