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Camp Inferno puts teen girls in role of firefighter

The City of Yuma hosts camp to encourage young women to challenge themselves to a level they never considered possible

YUMA, Ariz, (KYMA, KECY) - The Yuma Fire Department (YFD) is hosting Camp Inferno this week, a three-day program offering teen girls a real-world firefighting experience.

The camp is to encourage and empower young women ages 14-19 that they too can find a career as a firefighter or within the fire department, such as a dispatcher.

Wednesday the girls are learning about nutrition and how to put on their turnout gear, but will be put to the test with numerous physical and mental tasks on Friday and Saturday.

Ruth Gloria, YFD Administrative Support Supervisor says they will be exposed to many challenges.

"Repelling off of a four-story building from the roof for example. We also have a search and rescue drill where everything is blacked out and they go in and look for a mannequin, you know pretend body and they search until they find it and they drag it out and rescue it," explains Gloria.

Naia Alcaraz, one participant from Gila Ridge High School, says this camp is important to show women's strength.

"Well, every single day I really just think us girls should try to have at least some activities and what men do in every day single situations," states Alcaraz. "No matter what, I want to try something heavy, something more fun, more active. I just want every single girl out there to get some sort of experience for what men do."

24 girls will be put into six teams of four, which is typically the crew on a fire truck.

YFD partnered with San Luis, Somerton Cocopah and Rural Metro Fire Departments to help with the camp. 

Gloria mentions Camp Inferno started in 2011 and says she loves this program and the difference it makes.

Another reason this camp exists is because there is a high rate of teen pregnancy in the Yuma area according to Gloria, and hopes Camp Inferno will shed some light on a career path instead.

"Self-esteem issues and this camp just establishes so much confidence in young ladies that they're doing things they had no clue that they could do," says Gloria.

The three-day program will conclude on Saturday with tasks that will challenge the young ladies strengths.

Article Topic Follows: Everyday Heroes

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Vanessa Gongora

Vanessa Gongora joined the KYMA team in 2022 and is the anchor/producer for CBS at 4 p.m.

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