What It’s Like to Plunge Into the Heart of a Forest Fire
A smokejumper explains the risks and rewards and cautions that fires will become even more frequent and bigger.
For most of us jumping into a fire would be the stuff of nightmares. But for Jason Ramos, author of Smokejumper: A Memoir By One of America’s Most Select Airborne Firefighters it’s a job and way of life.
Every summer, when fire season begins, he heads for the North Cascades Smokejumper Base in Winthrop, Washington to do battle with the flames. A series of ‘megafires’ in recent years has made his summers especially busy and dangerous.
Talking from his home in Washington State, he explains why the quality of the gear he carries is so crucial and why he is working with the private sector to improve it; why smokejumpers have to be good at sewing; and how altered patterns