For Release: Feb. 27, 2008
Contact: Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332
Swasey Area to be Drop Zone for Smoke Jumper Training
Residents of west Redding and visitors to the BLM’s Swasey Drive Recreation Area could see parachutes billowing in the sky in early March, and possibly through the summer, as
U. S. Forest Service smokejumpers use the site for training.
The first training jumps could occur March 4 or 5. If the site meets the needs of the smoke jumpers, it could be used for proficiency training throughout the fire season, said Francis Berg, assistant field manager for the BLM Redding Field Office. The smoke jumpers use these proficiency missions to hone their skills at parachute manipulation, jump partner communication and accuracy.
Berg said the smokejumpers were interested in training at the Swasey Drive site because it is close to the smoke jumper base at the Redding Airport. Additionally, the site features the rugged terrain, brush and tree cover that smokejumpers can expect to encounter on firefighting missions.
Training jumps will occur in mid morning to early afternoon hours.
Smokejumpers can be dispatched to fires anywhere in the United States. They parachute to blazes in remote regions and often are the first firefighters on the scene of wildfires.
Redding Field Office 355 Hemsted Drive Redding, CA 96002