Insider's Look at Smokejumping
Bruce L. Nelson w/introduction by FireLink.com
Smokejumpers are highly trained wildfire firefighters deployed to remote locations. They are parachuted in to to secure fires otherwise unreachable by local forces. By making use of high-altitude aircraft, smokejumpers are able to reach fires faster, cheaper, and better equipped than any road-bound vehicle.
Because smokejumping forces are limited to small teams, most of us don’t get a chance to see what these special forces battle. “Buck” Nelson, a 20-year smokejumping veteran, gives us an insider look into the smokejumping world…
Smokejumpers may leave a fire by helicopter, on a four-wheel drive fire engine, or, if necessary, by packing up all their equipment and doing a “pack-out.”
Packs average slightly over 100 pounds, but may weigh 120 pounds or more. Here smokejumpers drop out of the timber on a packout from a fire in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest of NE Oregon.
Unusually steep or non-existent trails have made many smokejumpers consider a career change.