Cabezon Creek WSA, NM
BLM
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Fuels management Fire operations SEAT Briefing Smokejumper
Fire and Aviation
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Program Overview

There are 84 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Smokejumpers stationed at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. Their primary mission is to provide rapid response to new and ongoing fires. Smokejumpers can leave directly from Boise or from any sub-base. Sub-bases serve as temporary centers for smokejumper operations. Virtually any facility with adequate runway length and fueling capabilities can serve as a sub-base for smokejumper operations.

Smokejumpers use high performance aircraft and parachutes to provide safe and efficient fire suppression response. Within a few hours, a smokejumper aircraft can have firefighters to a remote wildland fire, regardless of agency boundaries.

In addition to arriving first at a fire, smokejumpers can assist land managers with fire suppression, remote area fire monitoring, prescribed fire operations, and other hazardous fuels reduction projects. Smokejumpers can fill a variety of Incident Command System (ICS) positions and can work as 20-person handcrews and as ground or helicopter based teams. 

The 150 BLM (based in Boise and Fairbanks, Alaska) and 280 U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Smokejumpers are a pool of resources available to any area experiencing fire management problems.

Smokejumpers can be used effectively when:

  • Several small fires have been reported in a short period.

  • A fire is in a remote, roadless, or wilderness area, and is difficult to quickly reach by ground.

  • A fire can be reached by vehicle but additional fire fighters are needed.

  • A fire threatens life, property, or a high-value resource. There isn't anyone at the scene or personnel at the scene need immediate reinforcements.

  • A fire requires immediate presence of a Multi-Resource Incident Commander.

  • A fire has a high spread potential if not attacked immediately.

  • An experienced, mobile, and self-contained team of qualified fire and fuels management experts are required to accomplish a task.