Stories From the Field:  Fire

The story of the BLM fire and aviation program is one of growth and change that often reached a hectic pace.


Thumbnail photo of a small plane releasing fire retardant.Ag Planes Provide a Valuable Tool for BLM’s Firefighting Toolbox

The mobility, speed, and accuracy of single engine air tankers (SEATs) make them ideal for fighting fires on the expansive BLM lands in the West.

Thumbnail image of firefighters using a portable weather station.Technological Changes Enhance Safety, Operations in Wildland Firefighting
By Sheri Ascherfeld

Much has changed in the world of firefighting in recent decades, including the fuels on the landscape, climate conditions, fire policies, and the wildland-urban interface.  Technology has changed, too.

Thumbnail image of a smokejumper using a parachute to access a forest fire.

A Unique Commute

BLM’s smokejumpers will tell you their job isn’t much different than that of many other firefighters.  But not many people commute to their jobsite via airplane, then parachute out of it before beginning the bulk of their day’s work.

Photo of a BLM fire engine near a smoky fire.Life on a BLM Engine
By Kari Boyd-Peak

We had a sense it would be a busy fire season when an early summer report of smoke in June 2006 grew to a large, complex, and severe incident in just a few, short, exhausting days.