Missoula, Montana

You are looking at the home of the Missoula Smokejumpers.  It is part of the US Forest Service (which is very different from the US Park Service).  This is where people train to be dropped into areas where forest fires are burning which are too remote to be accessed by conventional means.

There are 7 smokejumper bases run by the Forest Service in the western United States, two in Montana (here and in West Yellowstone), two in Idaho, and one each in Washington, Oregon and California.  The Bureau of Land Management also operates two smokejumper bases, one in Idaho and one in Alaska.

Obviously this type of work is physically and mentally demanding and requires a substantial amount of training.  Jumpers must be in excellent condition and be able to carry a 110 lb. pack on mountainous terrain.

There is a small visitor center here.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to stick around for a tour of the facility.

 

 

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