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Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Office
Release Date: 11/30/11
Contacts: Sarah Beckwith    

BLM Lander Firefighter Wins Firefighter of the Year Award

Lander native Sally Hovendick has been awarded the Firefighter of the Year Award by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wind River/Bighorn Basin District (WR/BBD). The award recognizes a firefighter who exemplifies the qualities of leadership, motivation, work ethic, physical fitness and positive attitude.

Hovendick uses a drip torch.
Hovendick uses a drip torch during a pres-
cribed fire.
Present for the award ceremony.
Present for the award ceremony were (from L to R): Heath Morgan, 
Joel Peters, Aaron Thompson, Hovendick, Chuck Russell, WR/BBD Manager Steve Dondero and Mike Coyne.
Hovendick received a set of spurs.
Hovendick received a set of spurs in recognition for her accomplishments.
“Sally is a self-starter and a leader, which makes her stand out,” said WR/BBD Fire Management Officer Chuck Russell. “She is a great example to me and to all of our employees of what a firefighter should be, and a true asset to our program.”

Hovendick has worked as a seasonal BLM engine crew member in Lander for three years. She is assigned to an engine that responds to wildland fires, both in Wyoming and across the nation. Hovendick and the crew also work on hazardous fuels mitigation projects throughout the Lander area. When not wielding a Pulaski or chainsaw, Hovendick is training in wildfire suppression drills and physical fitness. In fact, she was recently awarded the top physical fitness award for BLM Wyoming.

“If we could clone someone, Sally would be the one I would want to clone for the fire program,” said Fire Operations Supervisor Aaron Thompson of the BLM Lander Field Office.

Hovendick began working seasonally for the BLM after graduating from Lander Valley High School in 2009. She grew up on the family’s working cattle ranch in Lander where she still works when not employed as a firefighter. Her goal is to one day take over the ranch and continue the family tradition.

In addition to fighting fires and ranching, Hovendick’s interests include riding horses, hunting, camping and most anything that takes her into the great outdoors.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Office   101 South 23rd      Worland, WY 82401  

Last updated: 11-30-2011