How to Become a Smoke Jumper

How to Become a Smoke Jumper in the United States, Australia5 min read

This post is for you if you want to join the wildlife firefighting special ops and wonder “How to Become a Smoke Jumper”.

Smoke jumpers are the “special ops” of firefighting in the wildlife. While firefighters are keen to get their first “big one ultimately”, smoke jumpers get their “big one” each time the alarm goes off.

These superheroes integrate firefighting and skydiving, leaping from turbine engines into rampant wildfires in places not reachable by road.

When in the sky, winds can propel their parachutes to 20 mph or sometimes even higher, making touchdown coordinates almost impossible to tell.

Once they have landed, the task virtually begins, combating a fire sprawling over masses of acres with no support. 

“How to Become a Smoke Jumper” goes beyond just bringing a job; it is a way of life. You can hack into this intense profession, but first, let’s figure out “How to become a smoke jumper.”

How to Become a Smoke Jumper

Who is a Smoke Jumper?

Before getting to know how one can become a Smoke Jumper, let’s know who a smokejumper is. Often referred to as “The Wildlife Firefighters,” these guys are not just the regular firefighters.

Unlike the regular firefighters that try to cease a building on fire from the outside, smoke jumpers dive into the fire they are trying to get rid of.

Seasonal employees of smokejumpers consist of the national guard, ski divers, security personnel, students, missionaries, doctors, teachers, construction workers, lawyers, artists, and trade technicians.

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How to Become a Smoke Jumper

What do Smoke Jumpers do?

Getting to know what smokejumpers do would provide a better insight on becoming a Smoke Jumper. Moreover, the number one task of every smokejumper is to suppress the fire.

With the range, speed, and capacity of their fixed-wing aircraft, smokejumpers can speedily deliver as few as two or as many as 12 firefighters with tools and supplies directly to the fire in one trip.

As primary firefighters, smoke jumpers can get to the fire with the aid of using a vehicle, helicopter, by foot, parachute, or whichever means of transportation is viable.

Their high degree of training, qualifications, and experience allow smoke jumpers to offer leadership such as:

  • Air Tactical Group Supervisors
  • Division Supervisors
  • Type 3 Incident Commander
  • Strike Team Leaders on fire assignments
  • Fire groups

Smokejumpers are also called upon to provide rescue and first-aid services in remote and hazardous locations in the event of fires or other catastrophes.

Vital Points to Consider in becoming a Smoke Jumper

Do You Have Certain Likeness for the Woods? 

This is an important step to consider in becoming a Smoke Jumper. Being a fan of hiking is not sufficient enough for one to consider being a smokejumper.

As a smokejumper, you must know about how to survive in the woods.

Food, water, and equipment are provided for the smokejumpers and delivered to them using parachutes. On arrival of these supplies, it is left to each smokejumper to be self-sufficient for about two days.

Is doing the dirty work necessary if you have the required experience?

Here is another significant step to know on becoming a smoke jumper. Being a smoke jumper calls for a unique appreciation for nature and dirty work.

Aside from a season of specialized wildland fire suppression work, smoke jumpers need 12 months of training with hand equipment and also knowledge with certain work measures.

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This could consist of fire control work, ranching, farming, or soil and water conservation activities. It is likewise vital to understand primary first aid procedures. 

Do you panic at the slightest mishaps? 

When learning “how to become a smoke jumper,” it’s important to remember not to panic, even in the most dangerous conditions. Every smoke jumper, as the “special ops” of firefighting, should be aware that the task is demanding at all times.

A smokejumper’s parachute can get hooked on trees as they descend, making for a hard touchdown among large trees in the forest. In such a situation, smokejumpers are trained not to panic but seek an alternative way of touching down.

You have to be physically fit:

When looking for ways to become a Smoke Jumper, one of the most important requirements is that you be physically fit in case of an unfavorable situation.

Are you good at sewing?

You might not think that knowing how to sew is an important skill to have among the strategies to become a smoke jumper. Smokejumpers, on the other hand, are frequently responsible for stitching their work uniforms.

Smokejumpers make their tools and components for the coming fire season. They make the entirety of the things they make use of, from the jumpsuit to the backpack to the harness.

How to become a Smoke Jumper in Australia

Volunteering with a local fire department is a great way to gather the experience required to become a smokejumper in Australia.

Also, smoke jumper academies need candidates with good experience in combating fires in mountainous places. 

To become a smokejumper in Australia, applicants need to meet the qualifications listed below:

  • Candidates need to be extremely motivated people in great physical condition and must perform exhausting duties.
  • Applicants must have at least 12 months of general outdoor experience.
  • Candidates must be willing to undergo supervisor.
  • Not afraid of height.
  • Candidates do not necessarily need to have earned a college degree but must have completed high school.
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Only a small number of individuals are selected within 12 months to turn out to be smokejumpers in Australia. 

Hiring Process for Smoke Jumpers in the United States

The BLM smokejumpers receive hundreds of applications each year for up to ten job openings. These applications would be reviewed by the human resource management office, which would pick those who meet the job’s basic qualifications.

After that, the applicants are contacted through phone calls for an interview. At the interview, each applicant’s physical fitness, experience, and reason for applying are discussed.

A phone interview follows with the applicants’ supervisor to learn about each applicant’s work performance, work attitude, ability to work as a team, and ability to work under pressure.

The review of applications are based on: supervisor’s recommendation, personal interview, quality of experience, and length of experience.

Conclusion

Smoke jumping is certainly considered one of the numerous ways to defend people, assets, and forested lands from wildfires.

Quick response times, initial-assault training, and two days group sustainability make smoke jumping among the most cost-effective wildland fire fighting techniques in the world today.

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

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