What happened: Female firefighters taking part in a Women-in-Fire Training Exchange program—intended to promote "mental health and gender diversity and inclusion"—accidentally caused an "out of control" forest fire in Banff National Park.
Residents in the surrounding areas were evacuated and several buildings were damaged on May 3 after the female firefighters initiated a prescribed burn that quickly escalated into an uncontrolled blaze.
What they're saying: Days before the conference, local news outlets were celebrating the women's fire conference for its efforts to "break down barriers in [a] male-dominated industry." The 12-day training program was described as "an opportunity to engage participants of all different genders, ethnic, and racial backgrounds to explore the growing role of women in fire management."
Jane Park, the female "fire management specialist" who helped organize the conference, described the group of women who accidentally started the forest fire as the "cream of the crop." A former grad-school ski bum, Park said the training program was an opportunity for female firefighters to showcase the "value" of "diversity" in order to "build allies" among "men and people who are in the majority."