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August 5, 2014 at 6:32 PM

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Hot topic for girls at Camp Blaze


Camp Blaze, a free summer camp run by donations, hopes to "empower, inspire and support strong women leaders" through teaching firefighting skills to 24 girls ages 16-19 each year.

Girls learn from a staff of professional female firefighters who volunteer their time to teach 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 information officer and a former San Francisco fire lieutenant.

"They're not the same gals who walked in the first day," says camp incident commander Penny Stone, a firefighter/EMT with the Seattle Fire Department.

Camp Blaze is held every year in North Bend.

To find out more, visit www.campblaze.com.



LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Laura Parno, 17, from Ottawa, Canada, gets instruction from Kirkland fire-incident commander Margo Freeman as she works to put out a fire recently during Camp Blaze at the Washington State Patrol's Fire Training Academy in North Bend.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Campers march back to the training prop area after lunch under a no-nonsense sign to continue their afternoon of fighting live fires.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Partly suited-up campers listen to their instructors as they begin their day learning how to combat fires.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Diana Valdez, 17, of Tucson, Ariz., left and Christina Howard, 19, of Federal Way, crawl into a building with their fire hoods covering their masks to simulate pitch-black working conditions.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Singing camp jodies all the way down, all 24 students march back to their training area past a 6-story "burn tower" they will tackle at the end of the week during Camp Blaze at the Washington State Patrol's Fire Training Academy in North Bend.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A crew stands by to take turns putting out a small common combustibles fire, called a class A fire, in a shipping container as smoke pours from the enclosed fire.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Madison Valentine, 19, of Palo Alto, Calif. searches for the end of the hose as she crawls through a dark building while "blacked out" to simulate high levels of smoke during Camp Blaze.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

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