news and events » news

News Header

News Item

return to News

Smokejumper Has Sheridan Roots

by Ron Richter "Sheridan" |

For 16 years, Brian Wilson of Sheridan, who now resides in West Yellowstone, has worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a smokejumper, battling wildland fires. I caught up with Wilson Monday afternoon in Kendrick Park while the team re-rigged their parachutes for the next mission. He explained just what a “smokejumper” is, and what their role was in fighting the Sheep Creek Fire.

Wilson said that becoming a smokejumper doesn't happen overnight.

According to Wilson, between the Forest Service and the BLM, there are currently 400 smokejumpers in the United States. Wilson said that despite the dangers of the job, he loves what the profession offers.

Wilson said that the steep rugged terrain was the most inhibiting factor of fighting the Sheep Creek Fire. The team flew back to their base of West Yellowstone Monday night under what Wilson described as “initial attack ready”, meaning that it won't be long until they're dispatched to the next fire.