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Alan "Al" Dunton ( Fairbanks 1967 )

posted: Jul 23, 2010

Al Dunton died July 18, 2010, at his home in Reno, Nev.
He began his fire career in his hometown of Molalla, Ore., in 1962, and spent his rookie year in Fairbanks in 1967. Al was the Alaska smokejumper base manager from 1972 to 1984 when he was appointed as state fire management officer in Nevada for the Bureau of Land Management. He moved to Boise in 1993, and from there retired from his career as national fire director for BLM at the Interagency Fire Center.
Al was instrumental in shaping the Alaska Smokejumpers and many of his visions and impacts can be seen in the jumper program to this day. His method of “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast,” remains a phrase that only he seemed to be able to perfect.
Al passed on his penchant for wildland fire to his children; his daughter Amber worked at the Western Great Basin (fire) Coordination Center and his daughter Melanie Dunton (MYC-99) was a McCall smokejumper. His son-in-law, Dave Vining (NIFC-97), was a BLM smokejumper, and continues today as a fire management officer in Idaho. Even Al’s wife Mary worked in BLM fire in Alaska for five years prior to becoming a teacher.
The family has established the Al Dunton Memorial Leadership Award through the NSA. In lieu of flowers, Al’s family requests donations to NSA’s Good Samaritan Fund at http://www.smokejumpers.com/the_nsa/good_samaritan_fund.php.