Chris Young came to the Grangeville Idaho Smoke Jumper Base 15 years ago, back then he was pretty lonely.Young had only one partner who was also a practicing smoke jumper, basically firefighters with wings.Today more than 30 people work at the base. All of them are experienced firefighters who have to master parachute jumping for the job.We can get there quick because we fly, and we’ll fly it in a straight line to get to that fire, and it’s typically in remote areas.Be a smoke jumper, it is at least five weeks at the minimum training that we will run that rookie through.When the alarm sound goes off, smoke jumpers have three minutes to get dressed.Putting on all the gear is complicated, so these men always work in pairs.
So we make right here in in this parachute loft. A lot of this equipment is made right here, you can’t buy it at the store.It’s made out of Kevlar. The reason for that is puncher resistant, if he were to lay into an into a tree, he wouldn’t get a large branch penetrating that suit. It’s got a hard shell on the inside.Their shoes are extra durable, a special equipment bag holds water, gloves, hardhat, fire shelter and other personal belongings.An extra parachute is always at hand.It’s it’s uncomfortable. it’s tight. it’s hot. But I love it, and it gets me excited because I know what comes next is a fun part.The fun part is getting the load up in the plane, getting look at the fire from the air, sighs it up, and then you get to jump out and go take care of business.Riley has been a smokejumper for under a year, so far he’s battled five fires.And your heart starts beating before you even take off, and then you’re in the air and becomes real,and you can see down on the ground where you’re supposed to land and the spotter gives you the briefing,and your training just kicks in, you get in the door like you’re supposed to.
Smoke jumpers land at a safe distance from the heart of the wildfire.Once on the ground, they wait for the instrument kits to be dropped, inside a special axe called pulaski and a handsaw.After the fire is extinguished, they walk to where they can be picked up by special transport.At times, it’s kilometers away.Smoke jumpers high season starts in May and ends in September.Most of them spend late fall, winter and early spring working at regular fire stations until a heat wave comes and they are needed again with their pulaski, handsaw and bravery.
Lesia Bakalets in Grangeville Idaho, analyzed VOA news
美国之音新闻，Lesia Bakalets爱达荷州 格兰杰维尔报道。