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Smokejumpers Respond to Lightning Strike Fire on Santa Cruz Island

by Yvonne Menard |

Ventura, CA —Four U.S. Forest Service smokejumpers are working to contain a small one-tenth of an acre lightning strike fire on the upper reaches of Scorpion Canyon on Santa Cruz Island. Containment is expected tonight or by Tuesday morning.

The fire on the eastern end of the island was first reported at 9:10 am by a boater who saw smoke offshore. At noon U.S. Forest Service smoke jumpers from Redding, CA were dispatched from their spike base in Porterville, CA.

The team of jumpers parachuted from a fixed wing aircraft, landing on the island at 1:10 pm. They were on scene assessing and working to put out the fire shortly after 2:00 pm.

Smokejumpers are highly experienced wildland firefighters that help to combat fires in backcountry and wilderness areas, including national parks. They are ideally suited to respond to the early stages of a fire. They use minimal impact suppression tactics making efforts to leave little to no trace behind. This is the first time smokejumpers have battled a blaze at Channel Islands National Park.

Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau said, “We greatly appreciate the rapid response by the U.S. Forest Service smokejumpers to suppress this remote island fire in its early phases, especially given the many wildfires currently burning in the West.”