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When rapid transport of Type 1 firefighters is needed, the smokejumpers strive to safely provide highly-trained, self-sufficient firefighters wherever they're needed. Historically, the mission of the smokejumpers was to suppress smaller fires in remote, inaccessible mountainous terrain.

Smokejumpers are trained in Light Hand firefighting tactics which minimize the impacts of suppression in wilderness areas; however, their missions are not limited to these areas. Smokejumpers may be considered for any firefighting assignment and single resource orders are always an option. The qualifications of smokejumpers range from ICT3 (Incident Commander for Type 3 teams) to Fire Investigators. Many members of the crew are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Class C Fallers, or Strike Team Leaders (STLs).

Fire call!

Photos of smokejumpers boarding Sherpa jump plane.Requests for Redmond smokejumpers are normally made through local dispatch offices and relayed through the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch. Smokejumpers are usually launched with a full compliment of personnel (12 plus one spotter and an assistant) and fire logistics. Should priorities change, or new incidents occur, the spotter can take in-flight requests directly from the ordering unit -- all that's needed is an Incident Ordering Number and the fire's location. Additional information that would be of value might include the ground frequencies and contacts in the vicinity of the fire, other aircraft assigned to the area, and local hazards to aviation, if any.

Arrival on the scene

Upon entering the ordering unit's airspace, the smokejumper aircraft will contact the local dispatch office. Photo of a smokejumper high over forest decending to a fire below.On multiple resource incidents, the smokejumper spotter will coordinate with the Incident Commander and Air Attack to minimize smokejumper impact on available airspace. Smokejumper deployment need not adversely affect complex air operations. Good communication is the key to effective integration.

As soon as they arrive at the incident, the Smokejumper-in-Charge will contact the Photo of smokejumpers landing at jump spot.ordering unit again to with a size-up of the incident, an estimate of the staffing needs and other important information about the fire, the terrain, the wind and weather conditions, etc.

The Smokejumper Incident Commander (IC)/Crew Boss will assess the situation and take necessary suppression action.

 

 

Operations on an incident

Smokejumpers arrive at the incident with hand tools, saws, and communications, as Photo of smokejumpers fighting fire with portable pumps and hoses.well as food and water for three days. Paracargo specialists are back at Redmond to fill any special or re-supply needs, like portable pumps and hose equipment, medical supplies, or even fresh food drops.

Returning to base

Once the fire's out, smokejumpers normally pack all their gear to the nearest road for Photo of two smokejumpers loaded with gear and ready to pack out.pickup. Transportation back to the base is coordinated by the ordering unit. Know that the Redmond Air Center is able to retrieve smokejumpers and gear.

Project work

When fire activity is slow, District project work is welcomed by the smokejumpers. Photo of smokejumpers lighting a fire with a drip torch.They can provide the resources for most work projects, like transportation, saws, tree climbers, etc. Smokejumpers are used in the areas in a wide variety of projects: prescribed fires, engineering, training, natural resources, silviculture, administration, recreation and timber.

It is common for the Redmond Smokejumpers to assist with prescribed fire programs, where their knowledge of fire and strong work ethic can be utilized. On prescribed fires, smokejumpers are often used for preparing the area prior to ignition, igniting the fire, and mop-up afterwards.

Photo of smokejumpers learning tree climbing.Smokejumpers are often in demand for projects that involve tree climbing, such as topping, girdling, and mistletoe eradication. They may also be called upon to assist with timber stand improvement projects, hazard tree removal boundary and timber marking, stand examinations, and even scuba diving.

If you've got a project in mind, call the base for information on year-round availability. For more information e-mail the Redmond Smokejumpers.

Redmond Smokejumpers
1740 SE Ochoco Way
Redmond, OR 97756

Phone: (541) 504-7200
FAX: (541) 504-7285