National Wildland Firefighter Day Date in the current year: July 2, 2024

National Wildland Firefighter Day National Wildland Firefighter Day is observed annually on July 2. It was created to celebrate the bravery of emergency responders who risk their lives battling wildland fires and pay tribute to those of them who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Wildfires, also known as wildland fires, are unplanned, uncontrolled and unpredictable fires that occur in areas of combustible vegetation (forests, grasslands, prairies) due to natural or man-made causes. Although wildfires can be beneficial because some ecosystems depend on them for renewal and development, they have a number of negative effects.

Wildfires affect air quality due to carbon dioxide emissions and can disrupt communications, transportation, gas and power services, and water supply. If allowed to spread uncontrollably, they can lead to destruction of property, resources and crops, and result in massive death tolls. That is why wildfire suppression is required to minimize the impact of wildfire on people’s lives.

Emergency responders who specialize in wildfire suppression are called wildland firefighters. Their training is different from that of regular firefighters because firefighting in widland areas requires different equipment and techniques compared to firefighting efforts in populated areas. The main priority for wildland firefighters is protection of human life; resource protection always comes second to it.

Wildland firefighting is an extremely dangerous occupation. Life-threatening hazards faced by wildland firefighters include dust and ash, smoke exposure, heat stress, and the risk of various injuries such as burns, scrapes and cuts, animal bites, and even rhabdomyolisis (the rapid breakdown of muscles caused by increased body temperature). According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), the main causes of death for wildland firefighters are smoke inhalation, burns, falls, electrocution, vehicle accidents, drowning, and sudden cardiac events.

National Wildland Firefighter Day was established in 2022 by the Fire Management Board of the NIFC in Boise, Idaho. Its main goal is to recognize the hard work and dedication of wildland firefighters who put their lives on the line to save the lives of others, precious natural and cultural resources, infrastructure, and property, as well as to find ways to improve wildland firefighter safety and reduce on-the-job death rate. The observance falls during the annual Wildland Firefighter Week of Remembrance, which lasts from June 30 to July 6.

There are many ways to get involved with National Wildland Firefighter Day. You can learn more about the devastating effects of wildfires and the important role of wildland firefighters, reach out to wildland firefighters you know to thank them for their dedication, donate to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation that assists injured firefighters and help the families of firefighters who died in the line of duty, and spread the word on social media with the hashtags #NationalWildlandFirefighterDay, #WildlandFirefighterDay, #NWFFD, and #ThankAFirefighter.

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National Wildland Firefighter Day, observances in the US, professional days, wildfire suppression, wildland firefighters