Sasha Berleman

MYSTERY RANCH Fire Ambassador

Hometown

Temecula, CA

Resides

Oakland, CA

Profession

Founder of FirePoppy Consulting, Director of Fire Forward at Audubon Canyon Ranch

Growing up, my hometown was surrounded by wildfire every summer, so it's always been a big part of my life. But it took until my community college days to finally learn for the first time that fire has a valuable role to play in the west, that our ecosystems rely on fire to thrive, and that people lived with fire in a positive way for thousands of years before the arrival of Euro-Americans. This knowledge inspired me to pursue a career aiming to change the way we live with fire for the better. I went on to get a doctorate in wildland fire science from UC Berkeley, focusing my graduate research primarily on prescribed fire use for restoration of ecosystem health. Along the way, I stayed involved in Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges (TREX) and The Nature Conservancy, and have been honored to partner with the Redding Interagency Hotshot Crew over the last couple of years. I am thrilled every day that I get to work doing my dream job, spending time with incredible people coordinating and planning diverse prescribed burns, navigating all of the organized chaos that comes with that line of work, the daily opportunities to challenge my mind or my physical strength or endurance, the drive and grit that it takes to stick with it, and the insanely beautiful places I get to see.

Accomplishments:

  • Granted a lifetime membership to the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association after working with a neighbor to save a historic structure in the North Bay during the Nun’s Fire in 2017.
  • Attended Berkeley on a full-ride academic scholarship after community college, and worked full-time in both restaurants (and part-time at nature preserves) throughout my college years.

Foundations

What Mystery Ranch Packs do you Run?

I have and love the Hotshot top load fire pack! It’s practically a part of me now, as it holds all of my essential gear and I always know exactly where all of my things are in it – so it’s my grab-n-go work bag. I’ve also used Mystery Ranch duffels, and they’re unbeatable.

Favorite quote

"I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”
-Jack London

I’m an avid outdoors enthusiast, world traveler and hobby woodworker in addition to my outdoorsy profession, so I’m constantly exploring and adventuring, trying to learn more about this crazy world, the ecosystems, landscapes and plants within it, and the way we interact with them.