Smokejumpers Celebrate 75 Years

Seventy-five years ago this month Earl Cooley and Rufus Robinson parachuted onto an Idaho wildfire, put it out, and then hiked 28 miles to the nearest ranger station. It was the U.S. Forest Service’s first “live” jump. Today more than 270 smokejumpers respond to fires in remote areas, relying on tools, food and water that are dropped to them by parachute.  Without their hard work—in the field and at their home bases, training, maintaining equipment, getting ready for the next jump—far … Read More

Remembering the Fires of 1910 – The Big Burn

During a bad fire season in the mountain West, smoke, especially the smell of it, is a constant presence. Sometimes you forget, but all you have to do is step outside, trade house air for what lies beyond your door, and awareness comes rushing back. The wildfires of 1910 were terrible. Millions of acres burned. Towns were destroyed. Close to a hundred people were killed, most of them firefighters caught on the mountainsides and in the creek bottoms of Idaho. … Read More