Each fire season, wildland firefighters risk their lives to protect our forests and communities, and Weyerhaeuser recognizes the impact fighting these fires can have on the mental health of first responders and their families.

This year, we have partnered with Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance to provide specialized support and mental health resources for wildland firefighters. Addressing mental health challenges without stigma is critical to keeping firefighters safe, and the Fighting Fires Together campaign is designed to provide an important platform to amplify education and resources available for wildland firefighters and their families in the Pacific Northwest.

“Protecting our forests and communities from wildfire is a responsibility we all share, and we truly appreciate all those who work the front lines limiting the impacts of wildfire,” says Bill Frings, vice president of Western Timberlands for Weyerhaeuser. “We are proud to help build awareness and ensure wildland firefighters have access to mental health resources and the support they need to carry out this challenging work.”

Fighting

Fires Together


Supporting the mental health of firefighters, their families and our communities

Resources focused on behavioral health awareness, prevention and strategies to provide wildland firefighters and their families with an easily accessible and confidential source of information.

Learn more about the impact wildfires have on communities in the Pacific Northwest.

Finding a like-minded community or support group is an important tool for improving mental health.

Learn more about Weyerhaeuser’s wildfire response and recovery efforts in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Mental Health Tips & Resources

Firefighters risk their lives to protect our forests and communities, and the stress of wildland firefighting can have a significant impact on mental health. The following resources can help support frontline firefighters and their families.

  • Self-screening: This self-assessment serves as a suicide screening for firefighters. The assessment can serve as a general tool for checking on overall mental health.

  • Professional Directory: Partnering with an occupationally aware mental health professional can be critical to getting the right support. Below are counselors who have been vetted by FBHA and the National Volunteer Council in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

​​How Family and Friends Can Offer Support

  • Create a communications network made up of other spouses, partners or family members to support each other.

  • Acknowledge the power of being positive. First responders live in a world filled with negative actions and images. Having a positive home life can improve behavioral health.

  • Be patient and understanding when communicating. Reword or rephrase to avoid being confrontational.

  • Discuss setting a structured time-out. Allowing family members to reacclimate themselves back to home life is important. 

  • Be direct. If something doesn’t look or feel right, be direct with your loved one. First responders live in a world of receiving direct information to attack problems.

  •  Challenge with compassion and do not be afraid to point out discrepancies. First responders and their families cannot accept the “I’m okay” answer. Use compassion in your phrases and your tone of voice.

  • Internal size-up. First responders should ask themselves why they are acting or feeling a certain way on a daily basis. Partners and spouses can assist with this by expressing what emotions were experienced that day, and how it affected each other and other members of the family.

Addressing the Stigma of Seeking Behavioral Support

  • Stigma of asking for help. There are incorrect assumptions that asking for help shows weakness and goes against our culture. Asking for help when you need it is a good thing — for you, your co-workers, your family and your community.

  • Stigma of counselors lacking knowledge about the job. Some think that because counselors never fought a fire and don’t understand what we do, that they can’t help us. That’s not true. Counselors don’t have to understand everything we do in order to help us address our behavioral health.

  • Stigma of saying something wrong. Some firefighters have had very little training in behavioral health or suicide awareness and may be afraid to say something wrong. It’s okay if you don’t know all the right words. You can still ask for help and help others.

  • Stigma of unavailability. Some avoid seeking help because of a perceived lack of access to counseling services or culturally competent resources. However, groups like the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance are available to help.​​

 

Wildfire Facts & Figures

Every year, wildfires pose a threat to our forests, our communities and our livelihoods. These facts and figures capture some of the scope and difficulty of the work wildland firefighters do.

  • 5,000: the estimated number of firefighters who battled Oregon wildfires last year alone.
  • 826,000: the number of acres that Oregon wildfires burned in 2021.
  • 10,000: the number of professional firefighters employed by the U.S. Forest Service who respond to thousands of wildfires each year on National Forest land alone (not counting private lands).
  • 14: the number of consecutive days some wildland firefighters worked before receiving two or three days off.
  • 16: number of hours in one day that some firefighters had to work in 2021 because of the number of wildfires.
  • 8,000: number of personnel who responded to battle the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest in 2021.
  • 8,700: square kilometers of land burned during the wildfire season in British Columbia in 2021.

 

Community Groups & Resources

Weyerhaeuser is committed to supporting first responders fighting wildland fires and keeping our forests and communities safe.

Oregon & Washington

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 
    Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress in addition to prevention and crisis resources.  

  • TEXT: 741741. Type in “Badge” in the subject line. Trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 to assist first responders and their families with behavioral health needs. Crisis Text Line uses instant text messaging for those who find it difficult to ask for help. 

  • Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance 
    A nonprofit organization formed in 2010 to assist firefighters, EMS, dispatchers and their families in times of crisis. FBHA will find resources free of charge to assist those in need. 

  • Wildland Firefighter Foundation 
    Wildland Firefighter Foundation focuses on helping families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and assists injured firefighters and their families. 

  • 6th Alarm 
    Provides peer support and resources for fire, law enforcement, EMS and dispatchers.

  • Oregon Suicide Prevention 
    The Oregon Suicide Prevention website, hosted by Lines for Life, is a source of free information and support on suicide prevention specifically for first responders and healthcare providers.  

  • Code 4 Northwest: 425-243-5092 
    Provides free, 24/7 confidential support to those within the first responder and critical care family.

British Columbia

  • Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Center of BC: 1-800-784-2433 
    Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC provides free, confidential support 24/7 to those in need. Online chat service: www.CrisisCentreChat.ca (Noon to 1 a.m.)
  • Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566 
    Provides suicide prevention and support 24/7 to those throughout Canada.  
  • BC Professional Fire Fighters Association 
    Counseling services, treatment facilities, and peer-based programming resources.
  • BC Responders Mental Health  
    Provides mental health resources for firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement officers.  
  • Honour House Society 
    Honour House is a refuge, a “home away from home” for members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans, emergency services personnel and their families to stay, completely free of charge, while they are receiving medical care and treatment in the Metro Vancouver area. 
  • First Responder Health  
    Database of occupationally aware healthcare providers located in British Columbia (and across Canada) 
  • Wounded Warriors Canada 
    As a mental health service provider, they provide a range of clinically facilitated programs specifically developed to support the unique needs of veterans, first responders and their families. Programs support individuals, couples, spouses, surviving spouses and children of those who serve or have served our country and communities. 
  • First Responder Psychology 
    Provides articles and tips on first responder resiliency.  
  • HeadsUpGuys 
    Online, anonymous resource specifically designed for men and their families, to support mental health and prevent deaths by suicide. 
  • HeretoHelp  
    HeretoHelp is a group of seven leading mental health and substance use nonprofit agencies offering resources to those located in B.C.  

Recent News Coverage About the Mental Health Impacts of Wildland Firefighting

 

Stories From the Front Lines

Read about Weyerhaeuser's recent wildfire response and recovery efforts in the Pacific Northwest. ​​​