Montana/Dakotas Firefighters Complete Annual Fitness Challenge

Submitted by Karly DeMars, State Fire Planner, and Chris Barth, State Fire Mitigation & Education Specialist

Several Montana/Dakotas wildland firefighters recently participated in the annual BLM Fire Operations Fitness Challenge. The voluntary challenge provides a common system by which BLM firefighters can measure current fitness, establish fitness goals, track fitness improvement, and receive recognition for their efforts.

Firefighters in full gear walking up gravel road
The Billings Veterans Fire Crew.
Photo by Cody Phillips

The BLM Fire Operations Fitness Challenge tests participants in four basic exercises – push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and a timed run of either 1.5 or 3.0 miles. Participants are evaluated using a point system for each exercise category. Achievement is categorized in level increments where Level 1 is the minimum and Level 5 the maximum fitness level.

Female Firefighter, Jessica Race, carries a chainsaw over her right shoulder.
Jessica Race, a 1st year
firefighter from North
Central Montana District
Zortman Fire Station,
carries a chain saw after
completing project work
this summer. Jess is the
highest achieving female
participant in the 2021
BLM Fire Operations
Fitness Challenge.
Photo courtesy of
Jessica Race

The highest scoring male and female participants in Montana/Dakotas were recognized for their achievements. Both are firefighters from the North Central Montana District and work at the Zortman Fire Station. First-year seasonal firefighter, Jessica Race, was the top female participant and third-year seasonal firefighter, Kevin Henry, was the top male participant. Those participants scoring a Level 4 (300 points) were also recognized for their achievements.

Montana/Dakotas Fire Leadership understands and encourages excellent physical fitness, which is essential to firefighter performance, mental health, and safety. Congratulations to all 2021 BLM Fire Operations Fitness Challenge participants!

For more information on BLM’s Fire Operations Fitness Challenge, visit

Montana Dakotas Fire and Aviation Logo. Buffalo Skull with red wings behind it. Montana Dakotas BLM Fire and Aviation.