BLM Alaska Fire Service smokejumper training jumps start March 27

Video from past annual refresher training jumps in Interior Alaska.

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Starting March 27, Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (BLM AFS) Smokejumpers will conduct training jumps in the skies above the Fairbanks and North Pole areas in preparation for the upcoming fire season. The required refresher and training jumps will occur throughout April and May, primarily between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

The smokejumpers parachute in these primary areas for the refresher and training jumps:  

  • In and around the Birch Hill area on Fort Wainwright. 
  • Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project.
  • 2.3 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road.
  • Nordale Road just north of Chena River Bridge.  

Weather permitting, the refresher jumps for returning smokejumpers will occur once or twice per day between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on certain weekdays between March 27-April 28.  

The tempo will increase in May with the addition of rookie smokejumpers and parachuted cargo drops, known as paracargo. The rookie training jumps start on May 5 and, excluding weekends, will occur up to two times a day between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. through May 19. The paracargo training in Salcha includes as many as five lifts each day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on May 8-12. If necessary, alternate dates for paracargo training will occur May 15-19. 

Changes may occur due to weather and other limiting factors. Smokejumpers will continue to use these jump spots and the paracargo drop zone for ongoing proficiency training through mid-September. Find more information about Alaska Smokejumpers online.  

Pilots should check the Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) for information about smokejumper aircraft, and avoid flying over these areas while jumps and paracargo drops are taking place. 

For images of Alaska smokejumpers to use with this outreach, go to this BLM AFS Flickr site album or this album for video of practice paracargo drops in the Salcha area.

Video of the Alaska Smokejumper Paracargo program.


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Categories: BLM Alaska Fire Service, Training

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