She’s a smoke show who fights forest fires.
Katelyn Johnson, 29, is speaking out about her career as a hazard tree feller, chopping down burning bushes set ablaze during dangerous wildfires.
The stunning blonde — who proudly holds her own in the male-dominated field — has been working in the industry for almost five years, heading to California following the state’s devastating blazes that destroyed 1,975,086 acres between Feb. 18 and Dec. 7 of that year.
“Around 2018, I started to see articles about how the west coast was being devastated by massive wildfires,” the Ohio-born beauty told Media Drum World. “I had an Instagram friend who was working as a hazard tree feller and logger to clean up these areas.”
Johnson said she was immediately drawn to this type of work and became inspired to get involved.
“On wildfires, I assist wildland firefighters with tree mitigation efforts so that they can safely do their job and contain the fire,” Johnson added. “At times we are required to cut trees that are actively burning, which can be extremely hot and challenging. This is to keep the tree from falling unexpectedly or to prevent ember cast that could spread the fire.”
Since she began working as a hazard tree feller, Johnson says her confidence has grown exponentially.
The job requires physical strength and a sense of fortitude, with the beauty lopping down gigantic trees that stand hundreds of feet tall.
“The tallest tree I have felled is around 200 feet. Being on the west coast, I’m mostly working with conifers. Frequently red fir, white fir, Douglas fir, cedar, ponderosa pine, and super pine, to name just a few,” she stated. “During fires, I work to assist wildland firefighters with tree mitigation efforts, at times with the fire burning beside us. There’s nothing like the adrenaline that comes with that.”
Meanwhile, almost all of Johnson’s coworkers are men, but the beauty says she’s never faced sexism from her fellow tree fellers.
“I’m very fortunate that my feedback from the people, mostly men, that I work with has always been great. I’ve always felt supported, and encouraged, and have had positive things said about me by my coworkers,” she cooed.
“I work with men that have been logging around the country for up to 40 years. They’ve seen it all. They’ve worked with the best. So whenever I get a compliment from them about my capabilities or performance, it means so much to me.”
Johnson shares her stories about her unusual line of work online, where she is also inundated with support.
“Online through my internet presence, 90% of the attention that I’ve received from people coming across my work has also been supportive. I’m so very grateful for that,” the blonde declared. “Of course, there are always folks that judge, and trolls will be trolls. What’s important is the way I’m able to interact with the men I work with in person, though, and that’s almost always been positive.”
Johnson is encouraging other women to join her in the tree felling industry — despite hearing that other females have faced more hardship than she has.
“I know some women in the industry have had negative experiences and have indeed faced sexism. I always try to encourage women seeking advice to not put up with it. Move on to a different company and coworkers,” she declared. “There are plenty of people in the industry, if not the majority, that promote equality and want to support us.”
Looking forward to many more years out in the forests, Johnson defiantly stated: “Work ethic, a good attitude, willingness to learn, and drive isn’t gender specific, and I think those are the important qualities anyone, whether male or female, needs to excel in this industry.
“Ladies should get out there and go after it if that is what is calling them. We change mindsets and perceptions every day, just by showing up.”