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Smokejumpers Play Vital Role In Gila N.F.

by Deming News |

SILVER CITY, N.M. >> From May 25 to June 25, 1947, a foreman and eight smokejumpers from Montana and a Nordyn-Norseman plane with a pilot from Oregon were asked to come to the Gila National Forest as an experimental trial for smokejumping during the spring season of lightning fires for the Gila Wilderness Area.

And has this trial experiment paid off? The Gila National Forest has been using smokejumpers to assist with fire fighting efforts ever since.

This year, 20 smokejumpers have been assigned to the Gila National Forest since early May. They come from smokejumper bases from the northwest to help out during the early fire season and return to their home bases usually in early July.

"The smokejumpers are a part of our total fire fighting program for the forest. They help with a variety of fire fighting duties," says Fire Staff Officer, Gabe Holguin. Holguin knows well the benefits of smokejumpers, as himself being a jumper for five years in Idaho and Montana.