WILDFIRE ON ICE
MISSION & HISTORY.
Wildfire on Ice is an event draws together Minnesota's wildland firefighting community, during the off-season, to raise funds in support of fellow firefighters throughout the United States, and their family members, who are either injured or have fallen in the line of duty. All proceeds from WOI go directly to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, based in Boise ID, who provides financial support where insurance and worker's compensation cannot. Additionally, the WFF raises funds to memorialize fallen firefighters.
Four hockey teams, made up of representative firefighters from State and Federal Natural Resource agencies, participate in the friendly charitable hockey tournament which is held annually in January in Walker, Minnesota. Recently added to the event is a curling bonspiel, in which teams of wildland firefighters curl the day before the hockey tournament.
Wildfire On Ice is proud to partner with the Walker Area Community Center to host the daytime activities in their great facility. In addition to the curling and hockey tournament, the event is open to the public, offering firefighter and local community families the opportunity to ice skate with Smokey Bear during Saturday's events.
Saturday evening, attendees gather together to complete the celebration festivities with a banquet, awards, raffles prizes, live and silent auction and general camaraderie. The wildland firefighters and family members enjoy spending several days in the Walker community shopping, dining, ice fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, and enjoying the small town hospitality.
The event began in 2012 when a small group of firefighting hockey enthusiasts decided to create a fundraiser to help support the WFF. They tied it together with Hockey Day Minnesota and the event was hosted in Grand Rapids in 2012 and 2013.
With fast success, the group decided to move the event in 2014 to Walker to take advantage of the space available for a larger group within the community center and arena. It has continued success in Walker ever since.
The Walker American Legion Post #134 has hosted the banquet for years, along with hundreds of rowdy firefighters, and additionally has donated thousands of dollars over the years to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation!
The event has now grown to over 250 wildland firefighters and their families from Minnesota and nearby states attending and over $200,000 has been raised for the foundation.
Wildfire on Ice could not be the success it is without local partners that create the supportive and giving atmosphere. Below are the local Walker organizations that host and support the Wildfire on Ice festivities.