Smokejumpers, Elite Firefighting Crew

The death of a Northern California firefighter earlier this month has raised the profile of crews who parachute into remote areas from airplanes.

They’re called “smokejumpers.” Twenty eight-year-old smokejumper Luke Sheehy was killed while fighting a fire in Modoc National Forest in northeastern California.

Arlen Cravens with the U.S. Forest Service says smokejumpers go through special training and have unique responsibilities.

“Usually smoke jumpers will fight fires without water so they’ll get into what we call a dry mop up situation where they start mixing the burning fuels with dirt in order to put all the embers and flames out. And that’s the sort of situation that Luke was involved in when he was fighting a fire in the Modoc National Forest.”

Sheehy was fighting one of dozens of lightning-sparked fires when he was killed by part of a falling tree. His memorial service is scheduled for Sunday.

You can hear more about smokejumpers on Insight with Beth Ruyak.

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