North Cascades Smokejumpers

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Following a strong recommendation from Maria, the wonderful volunteer guide at the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery, I took the alternate route out of town for a visit to the North Cascades Smoke Jumper Base. • • Fortuitously, my first Smokejumpers visit was to the very first Smokejumpers! The concept was tested right here 80 years ago, and they now have seven USFS and two BLM bases stretching from Alaska to California. These are the folks that parachute in to the most remote wildfires in the hopes of establishing containment before they spread. Fires that would otherwise take days to reach. (The history of aviation never ceases to amaze me – 36 years after the first flight, we figured out ways to drop men over remote fires. Successfully. Dang.) • • They offer tours at most (all?) bases, free of charge, and very cheerfully. My visit was wonderfully informal – just stick your head into the office, and they radio for a smokejumper to come show you around. I'm guessing that's probably not the case if they're actively fighting a fire… My tour guide, Chris, was incredibly patient with all my questions, and was genuinely interested in increasing my understanding of what he does. After hearing about all the wildfires in California the last couple of years, and Alaska this year, I truly appreciated being able to visit and learn in such a first-hand manner. I've now added the rest of the bases to my "go see" map 😁 • • @u.s.forestservice #okanogan #smokejumpers #firefighters #wildfires #freetour @winthropwa #methowvalley #cascadeloop #visitwashington #beamazed #feelingloopy

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