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Image of the Forest Service  Smokejumper logo. History


The Redmond Smokejumper Base was officially opened in June, 1964. A crew of 24 jumpers from the Siskiyou Smokejumper Base in Cave Junction moved to Redmond that spring to prepare for the upcoming fire season.

First fire jump out of Redmond was made on June 27, 1964, when eight men parachuted on the Dixon Fire on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

The Redmond base is on the northern end of Robert's Field, which was once a WWII pilot training site. Building plans were drawn up in 1962, and the Redmond Air Center was dedicated on August 29, 1964.

Cave Junction base -- also known as the Gobi Smokejumper Base -- was closed in 1981. In its years of operation between 1943 and 1981, the Gobi jumpers parachuted on 1445 fires for 5390 fire jumps -- roughly 142 fire jumps per year.

Another noteworthy Oregon base was in La Grande. Staffed as a spike base from 1962 to 1973 by personnel from the North Cascades Smokejumper Base in Winthrop, Washington, La Grande was in regular operation from 1974 through 1982. During those years, La Grande jumped 497 fires for 1655 jumps, averaging 184 fire jumps per year.

In the 35 years since the Redmond base opened in 1964, a total of 11,321 jumps have been made into 2880 wildfires -- an average of 323 fire jumps each year. Four firefighters jump an average smokejumper fire.

AVERAGES

20-year average - 75 Fires - 303 Jumps - 4.04 Jumpers Per Fire
15-year average - 85 Fires - 345 Jumps - 4.05 Jumpers Per Fire
10-year average - 86 Fires - 350 Jumps - 4.07 Jumpers Per Fire

Collage of four photos depicting Redmond dating back to 1964.  As decades pass, the faces change, but the job has changed little.  All jumpers still hunger for assignments and the good Deal Sunday Barbeque.