Connie Mehmel was a young mother when she started fighting wildfires in Washington state, in the late 1970s. Her son, Ian, would eventually follow in her footsteps. After 42 years working for the Forest Service, Connie retired in September of 2019.

Connie and Ian sat down at StoryCorps to talk about working life side by side on the fire line.

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Top photo: Ian Bennett and his mom, Connie Mehmel, at their StoryCorps interview in Wenatchee, WA on June 4, 2009. By Chaela Herridge-Meyer for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: Connie Mehmel stands in uniform in 2012 at Summer Blossom. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, WA.

Originally aired Friday, September 13th, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.