Smokejumpers: Spec Ops of Firefighting

On Thursday, August 11th, 2016, a fire ignited between Pocket and Shoshone Lakes in Yellowstone National Park. In order to combat this hard to reach fire, three smokejumpers were called in to suppress this fire. But who are these smokejumpers and why are they essential?

 

What They Do

 

Winters are drying up, springs are warming more and more, and the summers are blazing. As a result, the fires out west are lasting longer and raging more fiercely than ever. As the frequency of these fires out west grows, they are continuing to sprout in remote locations that are hard to reach, but it is extremely important to quench these fires before they can cause serious damage. That’s where smokejumpers come in.

 

When the call comes for a smokejumper, they are expected to be suited and aboard a plane within 15 minutes. These firefighter elites then parachute into remote locations, hike miles into a fire strapped with a 100 pounds of gear, and spend up to 72  hours working on fire suppression under extreme conditions. Smokejumpers are a critical piece in being able to stop these fires

 

The Smokejumper Beginnings

 

In 1937, a fire exploded in Shoshone National Forest and burned for days before first responders were made aware. However, the difficult terrain made it challenging for firefighters to get the appropriate equipment on site in a timely manner. The fire ended up taking the lives of 15 firefighters and injuring countless others before a plan was put in place: parachute the men onto the scene along with the necessary equipment. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Forest Service put together a smokejumper program and began answering their first calls.

 

What Can We Learn From Them

 

Here at Halligan, we believe that smokejumpers can teach us a lot about how to be better at our day-to-day lives. We are going to have an ongoing blog series dedicated to understanding smokejumpers and their processes: their workouts, their processes, their training, their checklists -- in short, everything.


To keep learning about smokejumpers and how these brave men and women fight fires, subscribe to our blog below.