"PTSD and Why I Had To Leave" With: Mike West

Mike West has been in the wildland firefighting game for 17 years in various roles. He’s done a little bit of everything from being a Hotshot, Type 2 IA crew member, engine crew member, to a dispatcher…

Our community recognizes the fact that this line of work can be austere, physically demanding, and even more demanding on your mental health – And over the course of Mike’s career, his mental health took the brunt of these demands.

Mike eventually left the agency due to these reasons:
“I was diagnosed with PTSD, and I didn’t think I could heal from it if I stayed in fire.”
“My career had a very negative impact on my family life. I found it impossible to balance fire and my personal life.”
“I always wanted to be a teacher.”
“The whole forestry tech/firefighter thing. No need to beat that dead horse. We all know the issue.”
“I wanted my summers back.”
“I think the FS could retain a lot of forestry techs with better pay and support systems. But I wasn’t going to stay. By the time I decided to leave, the title of firefighter with good pay wouldn’t have kept me. I was totally over it. There’s a lot of fun to be had in fire, but I wasn’t going to sacrifice my family relationships for it.”
Upon leaving the agency, Mike wrote a heartfelt and honest letter to the forest to explain why he needed to leave fire… If you have a chance, read his letter here:


He hopes that this letter helps inspire anyone who is struggling with mental health issues to seek the help that they need.

Mike is now “retired” from the agency and is a teacher in Susanville, California and is a contributor to the Mystery Ranch “Backbone Series”

If you want to find out more, check out the link below:

Hope everyone is doing well…

You know the drill…

Stay safe, stay savage…



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Source: Youtube