Smokejumper Capabilities

Smokejumpers are ideally suited to responding to, and catching, fires in their early stages before they become large, complex and costly incidents. However, we have a broad range of capabilities that extends beyond initial attack.

California Smokejumpers Sherpa Jumper 5-1 flies over snowy terrain.Initial Attack Range

With 40 smokejumpers and two aircraft, we can quickly staff multiple fires throughout the state. Most fires in northern California can be staffed within 30 minutes and fires in southern California can be staffed within 3 hours. One aircraft will frequently be staged in Fresno or San Bernardino, putting central and southern forests within the 30 minute range. Click here for Response Time Maps.

Establishing Incident Command System

In the early stages of a large fire, smokejumpers can quickly establish an anchor point and order necessary resources, while filling critical ICS positions such as:

California Smokejumpers Brian Kvisler and Dylan Reeves discuss suppression strategy while a tree torches nearby.- Incident Commander Type 3 or 4
- Division Supervisor
- Task Force/Strike Team Leader
- Single Resource Boss

Self Sufficiency

We come equipped with hand tools, chainsaws, maps, GPS, satellite phone, sleeping bags and enough food, water and saw fuel to last up to 3 days.


In addition to resupplying jumpers, paracargo can be used for many incident needs. Most fire cache items can be delivered by paracargo within a few hours of ordering. Paracargo is fast and cost efficient. Click here for more info about paracargo.

Cargo drops out as the Sherpa flies overhead.Reconnaissance

Our jump aircraft can provide valuable information to dispatch, as well as ground resources, including:

- New fires
- Latitude and Longitude
- Access to fires
- Current fire behavior

Wilderness Ethics / M.I.S.T.

Crosscut saws are part of the standard compliment of paracargo aboard each aircraft, and every smokejumper is trained in crosscut use. Lightning struck trees cam be climbed as an alternative to felling, as a means of checking for heat. Smokejumpers are adept at suppressing wildfires with minimal impact to the environment.

California Smokejumper Jed Smith spur climbs up a tree.Fire Use

We are an ideal choice for staffing fires that are put into Wildland Fire Use status. FEMO kits and water filtration systems are standard on both aircraft, and we can be supplied by paracargo for the duration of the assignment.


Jumpers can be inserted into fire areas to act as lookouts when resources do not have a viable location to place their own lookout (example: onto an opposite ridge.)