Alaskan Smokejumpers

Small Forest Fire in Idaho, early 1960’s. Photo by Dad.

My father was in the Forest Service and early in his career he fought a lot of fires. He was never a smoke jumper though. He rode in a truck and then hoofed it to the fire. Later on, on big fires he stayed behind the lines in various capacities. During dry summers he would be gone almost the whole time to Idaho, Montana, California and then show up one day unannounced and exhausted.

National Geographic Online has a superb article about Alaskan Smokejumpers along with some great photos. Hit the link to check it out.

We had a few family friends who were smokejumpers early in their career. And it turns out that I had friend in high school who became one. His career in the Forest Service overlapped my fathers and he told me on facebook a lot of nice things about my Dad that I had never heard before. Dad was never one to talk about himself much. So, facebook is good for things besides political arguments and cat videos!!

I’ve seen a few big forest fires from afar. I have never seen anything else as terrifyingly awesome even from miles away as a big fire with a huge column of smoke over it. I never felt a need to go fight them!! I respect those who did though.

4 thoughts on “Alaskan Smokejumpers

  1. Nancy Chan

    Now I know what is a smoke jumper. Thankful for people like your father and others helping to stop and preventing forest fire from spreading. These people are unsung heroes.

  2. Sallie

    That *is* a nice story about your FB friend sharing work stories of your dad. We’ve seen a few of those scary fires in our travels in the NorthWest and Colorado and passed by more than a few fire camps. And, in the near aftermath of fires, signs in towns thanking the firefighters for their work.

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