Smokejumper duties can be hazardous and extremely arduous. Smokeumpers must have extensive experience in wildland firefighting. Smokejumpers must be in excellent physical condition and possess a high degree of emotional stability and mental alertness.
The U.S. Forest Service has about 320 smokejumpers that work from seven bases located in McCall and Grangeville, Idaho; Redding, California; West Yellowstone and Missoula, Montana; Winthrop, Washington; and Redmond, Oregon. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also has smokejumpers at two bases, one in Boise, Idaho and the other in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Smokejumpers travel all over the country, including Alaska, to provide highly-trained, experienced firefighters and leadership for quick initial attack on wildland fires in remote areas. Fire fighting tools, food and water are dropped by parachute to the firefighters after they land near the fire making them self-sufficient for the first 48 hours. Most smokejumpers work from late spring through early fall.