MEDFORD, Ore -- Boise Smokejumpers are on standby in the Rogue Valley this weekend. They are stationed at the Medford Airtanker base. Tyler Rowland is a first-year smokejumper.
“The reason I wanted to be a Boise smokejumper was because I have worked with these guys a lot in the past. This is my 10th fire season and it seemed like it would be something that I would be interested in,” Rowland said.
The National Interagency Fire Center says that Smokejumpers are unique because of the way they reach the fireline. They parachute from an airplane 3,000 feet above the ground. The Interagency Fire Center adds that when wildfires ignite in remote and isolated locations, smokejumpers are able to reach them fast – because they can parachute to wildfires when there are no roads or trails nearby.
Rowland says he enjoys being around aircrafts and that component of the job. He has seen the impacts that the drought has had on fire season.
“This summer is a lot hotter and drier than summers in the past, especially this early. I think it's, yeah. It's showing signs of just huge potential for extreme fire behavior early on in the summer. Cause you typically, it happens later August, maybe September too. And we're seeing just super dry up in the timber,” Rowland added.
Most of the fires that smokejumpers respond to are lightning caused fire starts. Tyler and his crew have been in the Rogue Valley for 4 days. He says they are ready to respond at a moments notice.