Smokejumpers have parachuted to wildfires since 1940. Today, 9 bases in the western states and Alaska employ about 450 smokejumpers - the majority are part-time employees.
Initial attack with limited support is the jumper's expertise. Providing overhead personnel on larger incidents is another way these 'single resources' make a big difference.
Each summer, smokejumpers stop hundreds of wildfires when it counts - just about as fast as a plane can fly there. Smokejumpers remain an effective and inexpensive weapon against remote wildfires. Fire managers compete for a limited number of available jumpers each fire season.
Along with their paracargo, experience is what smokejumpers bring to wildfire. Most posess a combination of skills that help them accomplish their objectives with resourcefulness and dependability.