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).
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,
Upon entering the ordering unit's airspace, the smokejumper aircraft will contact the local dispatch office. 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 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
Operations on an incident
Smokejumpers arrive at the
incident with hand tools, saws, and communications, as 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.
When fire activity is slow, District project work is welcomed by the smokejumpers. 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.
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.