The Backbone Scholarship

The American Wildfire Experience is proud to partner with MYSTERY RANCH to administer the new Backbone Scholarship.  Created in conjunction with MYSTERY RANCH’S Backbone Series (an essay series written by members of the wildland fire community and created to educate the public on the sacrifice and work that goes into responding to the wildland fire environment), the Backbone Scholarship works to provide funding for professional development within the wildland fire community.

We’ve issued $12,000 in scholarships so far and look forward to opening up our second round of scholarship funding before the end of 2021.

Sign up here to be notified when the next application cycle opens:

Special Edition Backbone Packs

To fund the scholarship, MYSTERY RANCH has taken two of their top-selling everyday carry packs – the URBAN ASSAULT 21 and the 3-WAY BRIEFCASE – and built them in “wildfire black” with 10% of proceeds going to support the Backbone Scholarship fund.  These $1000 scholarships will help the men and women that go above and beyond in the off-season. Fire Classes, medical training, and college education aren’t cheap. Countless men and women work for Federal Land Management Agencies as Forestry Technicians and seek to better themselves in the off-season to compete for permanent appointments. Some individuals use fire as a means to assist with greater life goals and objectives.

Shop for your bag and support the Backbone Scholarships here:

Support the Backbone Scholarship by purchasing a copy of Moon Dust:

Moon Dust is a collection of images shot over a length of 4 years by photographer Robert LeBlanc documenting hotshot firefighters in Montana and California.

Nothing compares to being up close to a wildfire.

The August Complex wildfire of 2020, which is currently the largest wildfire in California History, burned throughout the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Mendocino National Forest, and Six Rivers National Forest. The wildfire burned for a total of three months scorching 1,032,648 acres. Rarely do photographers gain intimate access to hotshot crews while on remote wildfires. The images in Moon Dust give an intimate vision of what it’s like battling such an unpredictable natural disaster and how these firefighters risk their lives every day. In partnership with Mystery Ranch and Monster Energy Cares, 100% of proceeds of book sales will be donated to the Eric Marsh Foundation, U.S. Hotshot Association, and Backbone Series Scholarship.

Buy a copy today:

More information about the scholarship, its application process, and eligibility requirements coming soon.