Gutsy Goddess—Linda

Words of wisdom from firefighter and Gutsy Goddess Linda: "Do what you love, and don't let anyone tell you that you can't!"

I am one of the first woman firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service. As a naïve twenty-year-old in the mid 1970s, I learned that fighting wildfires was the simplest of the challenges I’d face. Battling fire is exhausting yet exhilarating. I thought it would be hard, yet I loved the idea of working outside and protecting the forests I held dear. It was a vibrant time of strong friendships and wild adventures.

It was also a time of heartbreak. The real challenge I faced was fighting wildfires in a man’s world where the discrimination was real and sometimes in my face. Men tried to dissuade me from applying for these jobs, outright told me they would not hire me because I was female, yet that didn’t stop me from pursuing this career. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do! My insight—I discovered that when you love what you do it isn’t work.



Are you doing what you love? If not, why not? If so have you had to overcome challenges? We would love to have you join the conversation. Please comment below.

To learn more about Linda click here.

To learn more about Linda’s book, Summers of Fires: A Memoir of Adventure, Love, and Courage click here

To learn more about book two, Uprooted click here

To read about other Gutsy Goddesses click here.



  1. That sounds adventurous to be sure! Facing the physical challenges of the job were probably much easier than the discrimination of a traditionally “men-only” career. Good for Linda that she didn’t let that stop her!

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 3, 2017 at 11:19 am

      I’d be curious as to how much discrimination was in the hiring, administration, and out-of-the-field aspects of her job. I hope there was teamwork at the fire. For me it would make the challenge nearly impossible if I were doing something dangerous and couldn’t trust my team with my back. And yes—good for her for pushing through.

      • I faced discrimination on both levels…both in the field and when denied positions I was fully qualified for. I’m not sure what upset me more…with the men on my crew who gave me a hard time, I could laugh them off or ignore sexist comments. With admin though, I couldn’t win there, which was quite frustrating.

        And would I be a firefighter again? I never wanted to stop, but was forced to. I have no regrets, though.

  2. Thank you, Lynda! You are right..the physical challenges were nothing compared to the emotional ones. I loved my job, and fought to keep it.

    • admin_laughingatthesky October 3, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Linda, that just astounds me that the emotional challenges were harder than the physical ones. Good for you for hanging in there. Would you do it again?

  3. What an adventure! I am sure the book will be mighty interesting. All the best to Linda.

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