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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Empowering young women at Camp Blaze

At front, Avery Dahline, 16, of Seattle, Julia Racette, 19, of Gig Harbor, and crew leader Wendy Carpenter, right, of Southeast Thurston County don their fire hoods and helmets near the burn pad as they get ready to practice putting out a petroleum-fueled trough fire during Camp Blaze at the Washington State Patrol's Fire Training Academy in North Bend, Wash. on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. Camp Blaze, a free summer camp run by donations, hopes to "empower, inspire and support strong women leaders" through teaching firefighting skills to twenty-four girls ages 16-19 each year. Girls from all over the country learn from a staff of professional women firefighters volunteering their time to teach them skills like CPR, rappelling, teamwork and live fire response. Though the camp gives girls a taste of firefighting, it "teaches these young women that they can do anything they want to," says Karen Stone, camp PIO and former San Francisco Fire Lieutenant. "They're not the same gals who walked in the first day," notes camp incident commander Penny Stone, a firefighter/EMT with the Seattle Fire Department. Camp Blaze is held every year at North Bend. To find out more, visit