On Mar. 3, The Bee published an article detailing the Cal Fire scandal near its Ione Fire Academy.
In the late 1970s, I was the only woman at the 10-day academy with 35 other potential candidates. There had been much ado about the introduction of female cadets with warnings of sexual provocation and trysts at the time. I ignored the naysayers, and the staff — who really didn’t know what to do with a woman — and put me in a two-story barracks by myself, away from the boys.
All of us passed fire academy. I found that about a third of the men welcomed and supported me, a third ignored me and a third were openly hostile.
I want to point out the obvious — that it took 30 years for the predicted bad-boy behaviors to surface and they were off campus.
Also, we must commend the thousand of men and women who put their lives at risk during fire season every year in California. Shame on those few men who brought shame on an otherwise exemplary place and a noble profession.