West Yellowstone Smokejumpers

West Yellowstone jumpers primary response area is the Custer Gallatin, Shoshone, Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Targhee and Bridger-Teton National Forests and Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, however smokejumpers are a national resource and can be dispatched anywhere in the country to respond to wildfire.  Smokejumpers are trained to jump out of airplanes getting to fires fast before they have a chance to get big.One of nine permanent smokejumper bases, located two miles north of the community of West Yellowstone, MT, 90 miles south of Bozeman, MT and 100 miles northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho; the base was established in 1951 at the old airport just west of town and then moved to its present location in 1965.

Wildland fire fighting is rigorous work and jumpers have the additional stress of the actual jump and then packing out whatever gear is necessary to fight the fire when the job is done, sometimes packing as much as 115+ pounds for many miles.

  • Jumpers are used for a variety of other jobs including tree climbing, blasting and prescribed fire.
  • Most work seasonally except for a few leadership positions.
  • Requirements: excellent physical condition, emotional stability and mental alertness. Standard firefighter's Work Capacity Fitness Test (pack test), 7 pull-ups/chin-ups, 45 sit-ups, 25 push-ups, and a 1.5 mile run in less than 11 minutes. These are minimum requirements.
  • Additional requirements:  demonstrate their ability to pack 110 pounds of gear a distance of three miles in 90 minutes or less, over a level course.  18+ years of age, must be between 60 – 77 inches tall without shoes, weight 120-200 lbs without gear,

Hearing: Must not have acute or chronic disease of the external, middle, or inner ear. Using an audiometer for measurement, there should be no loss of 25 or more decibels in each ear at the speech frequency range. A hearing aid is not permitted.
Vision: Must be free from acute or chronic eye disease. Corrected distant vision must test at least 20/20 (Snellen) in one eye and at least 20/30 (Snellen) in the other. Individuals must be able to read printed material the size of standard typewritten characters. Glasses or contacts used for eye correction are permitted.


Employment Information

Annually, October – December.  All applicants must have specialized work experience including at least 3 continuous months of wildland fire suppression experience as a member of an organized fire suppression crew or comparable unit, in forest and range fire suppression work under mountainous terrain and fuel conditions such as those found in the western United States. Rookies are hired at the GS-5 level.  Apply through USAJobs


Contact Information

Address: West Yellowstone Interagency Fire Center
PO Box 610
West Yellowstone, MT 59758

Phone: 406-646-7691 Fax: 406-646-9598  Tours of the base are available in the summer, workload permitting, call us or stop by.


National Smokejumper Association http://www.smokejumpers.com/

Smokejumper Bases