BLM AFS Smokejumper Training Jumps Start Next Week
FAIRBANKS – Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (BLM AFS) Smokejumpers will take to the sky starting April 8 in preparation for the upcoming fire season. The required refresher and training jumps will occur in April and May, primarily between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Smokejumpers will be parachuting in four primary areas:
• Near Birch Hill on Fort Wainwright
• Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project
• 2.3 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road
• Nordale Road just north of Chena River Bridge
The refresher jumps for returning smokejumpers will occur once or twice per day between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on certain days between April 8 and May 11.
The tempo will increase with the addition of rookie jumps May 11-15 and May 18-22 and then parachuted cargo drops, known as paracargo, at the Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project May 12-15. The rookie training jumps will occur up to four times a day between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The paracargo training on the Chena Flood Plain includes as many as five lifts each day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. If necessary, alternate dates for paracargo training will occur May 18-22.
Changes may occur due to weather and other limiting factors. Smokejumpers will continue to use these jump spots for ongoing proficiency training through mid-September.
Pilots should check the Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) for information about smokejumper aircraft, and avoid flying over these areas while jumps and paracargo drops are taking place.
This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.