Enter a world of breathtaking danger and beauty: In this remarkable memoir, veteran smokejumper Jason Ramos offers a rare inside look at the lives of airborne firefighters, the select few who parachute into the most rugged and remote wild areas to battle nature's blazes.
Forest and wildland fires are growing larger, more numerous, and deadlier every year as record drought conditions, decades of forestry mismanagement, and the increasing encroachment of residential housing into the wilderness have combined to create a powder keg that threatens millions of acres and thousands of lives. One small group of men and women are America's frontline defense: smokejumpers.
Founded in 1939 and populated in its early days by former World War II paratroopers, today's smokejumper program operates through both the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Though jumpers are tremendously skilled and only highly experienced and able wildland firefighters are accepted into the training program, smokejumping is an art that can only be learned on the job. Forest fires often behave in unpredictable ways: spreading almost instantaneously, shooting downhill behind a stiff tailwind, or even flowing like liquid.
Featuring a foreword by author John Maclean (Fire on the Mountain), Ramos's unforgettable firsthand account takes readers into his exhilarating and daring world, explores smokejumping's remarkable history, and explains why the services of these brave men and women are more essential than ever before.