Commonly Asked Questions


1. Why is fitness so important for wildland firefighters?

  • Allows one to perform the arduous tasks required of a wildland firefighter.
  • Improves overall health and safety both on and off the fireline.
  • Improves personal attitudes and crew cohesion.
  • Helps decrease absenteeism and increase productivity in the workplace.
  • Improves your chances of surviving a catastrophic incident.

2. What do wildland firefighters do that requires them to sustain good fitness levels?

  • Work long hours, utilizing muscle strength, muscle endurance, and cardiovascular capacity with little recovery time.
  • Endure stress, fatigue, dehydration, and poor nutrition for long periods at a time.
  • Work at optimal performance levels in poor environmental conditions.
  • Understand the importance of working safely.

3. Why can’t I run in my fire boots?

  • Fire boots are not designed for running. All foot wear are designed for specific activities based on the foot movement (lateral, forward, etc.). By wearing shoes that are not designed for that specific foot motion, you can injure yourself, even seriously.

 4. Isn’t it best to run everyday for PT to get in shape for fire season?

  • While running is a component of P.T., it should not be the only element. Running everyday, especially if you are running on hard surfaces, may lead to overuse injuries, but can also conflict with overall conditioning and lead to boredom and decreased morale. Running is considered an ‘impact’ exercise – every step you take while running, you are placing approximately 3.7 times your body weight on the joints of your body! Increase your mileage by 10% weekly to avoid overuse injuries and remember to cross train.

5. Why are there so many injuries early in the fire season – especially knees and backs?

  • This is directly attributed to poor training programs and overuse – doing ‘too much, too soon’.
  • Contributing factors include: lack of adequate warm up and stretching, improper shoe wear, and imbalance of muscle strength (a result of improper muscle strength/endurance workouts).

6. Why do wildland firefighters need a special fitness program designed for them?

  • Wildland firefighters are a special breed of professionals that deal with complex, high stress situations that require not only muscular strength but also muscular endurance, cardiovascular conditioning, and flexibility for prolonged periods of time while under duress.
button What is Fitness
button Getting Started
button Essential Components
button Aerobic Fitness
button Muscle Strength
button Core Training
button Flexibility
button Common Injuries
button Mental Fitness/ Preparation
button Firefighter Nutrition
button Wildland Fitness Assessment Battery
button Home Grown Fitness
button Q & A
button Resources
button Appendices
button BLM Fire and Aviation Fitness Challenge
button FireFit Task Group