Primary Area of Response:
Grangeville sits at 3,000' on the Camas Prairie in North-Central Idaho, a serene spot amidst a rugged expanse of public lands containing numerous mountain ranges and wild rivers, roadless areas and designated wilderness, and large stands of commercial timber. Immediately to the east lie the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, the two administrative units for which GAC serves as a primary initial-attack resource. These forests contain substantial portions of four different wilderness areas: the Selway-Bitterroot, the Gospel Hump, The Frank Church, and Hells Canyon. Country on these units ranges from the steep, grassy slopes of the Salmon River Breaks to the alpine lakes and snow-clad peaks of the Bitterroot Divide. Accordingly, GAC jumpers routinely encounter a full spectrum of vegetative types and fire environments (from lowland brush to heavy timber).
To the west lies the Snake River, and just beyond, the Wallowa-Whitman and Umatilla National Forests. These units lie a short distance from Grangeville by aircraft, and consequently GAC jumpers often staff fires in these portions of Oregon and Washington.
Grangeville is the seat of Idaho County and a community of approximately 3,176 people. Life in Grangeville can be described as pastoral: While offering unlimited opportunities for fishing, hunting, hiking, paddling, biking, and winter sports, the community nonetheless retains a local flavor and a relaxed pace. Nothing epitomizes this atmosphere like the town's annual Border Days celebration, a three-day assortment of rodeo competition, foot races, dancing, barbecuing, and fireworks (with GAC jumpers participating in every aspect).
Housing is reasonable in Grangeville, and although the base does not provide lodging for employees, GAC jumpers generally experience little trouble finding quarters for the summer. Grangeville offers all the basic amenities, from supermarkets to movie theaters. The communities of Lewiston and Moscow, each about 90 minutes to the north, offer additional services (including commercial air transportation and two university campuses). The city of McCall, home of the Region Four Smokejumper program, is a 90 minute drive to the south (close enough to allow GAC jumpers to make frequent appearances at the annual "big flip" event at the McCall base).
Smokejumper facilities at GAC include a parachute loft, manufacturing area, ready room, administrative offices, and weight-training equipment. Adjoining buildings serve the Clearwater/Nez Perce Helitack Crew. Paved and graveled roads radiating from the base provide ample opportunities for running and biking, and a network of mountain-bike trails can be found on Mt. Idaho, immediately south of town.