Operations is responsible for the day to day running of the base throughout the year, but especially during the fire season. It keeps track of the jumpers locality and work assignment, time sheets and per-diem, fire dispatches and returning jumpers.

During fire season the jumpers are despatched relative to the position on a revolving jumplist - go out from the top, come back to the bottom. Operations is responsible for keeping this list current and accurate.

Agency operations information.

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Parachute Loft

The Parachute Loft, or 'loft' is where all the maintenance and packing of parachutes occurs. Chutes are checked after each jump in the loft tower for holes, tears, burns and any other damage which may occur due to the nature of landing in the forests. Neccessary repairs are made by Senior Riggers under the eye of the loft forman, a Master Rigger. Chutes are then repacked and shelved for the next jump. Jumpers don't neccessarily pack their own chutes, a few riggers will pack the chutes for all jumpers.

The loft contains a series of sewing machines for the repair and building of chutes, harnesses for jumpers and helitac personnel and other misc items. Also 6 40' long tables for packing of mains, reserves, cargo chutes and line repair.

Agency loft information.

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Fire Use and Projects

Closely dealing with operations and local FS districts, fire use and projects provides jumpers for project work. This mainly includes burning, thinning, trails maintenance and tree climbing. Surrounding forests include: The Lolo NF, Helena NF, Bitterroot NF, Clearwater NF, Dearlodge NF and Nez Perce NF.

By working closely with districts and their personnel we get to know each other one on one, and more importantly get familiar with the terrain, vegetation and likely fire behaviour, which helps during the fire season.

Agency fire use and projects information.

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Training is responsible for annual refresher, rookie training and the ongoing requirements for fire training advancement.

Rookie training lasts 4 weeks and is an intensive physical and mental period in which new hires are put through their paces and trained in the art of rough terrain parachuting. They are expected to arrive with a modest level of fire training already but more is provided.

The annual refresher is for all returning jumpers. Requirements include a physical fitness test, a day of 'units' (para training units), 3 jumps, tree climbing, first aid and mandatory forest service classes.

Agency training information.

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All aircraft loading is the responsiblity of loadmasters. Weight and balance of cargo and jumpers varies according to the aircraft used, weather, altitude and fuel requirement.

Cargo boxes are built for a varity of uses - food, water, tools, trauma kits, fireline explosives, chainsaws and crosscuts.

Agency loadmasters information.

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A spin off from the loft, manufacturing uses a series of sewing machines and builds personnel gear bags(PG), pack-out bags, jump suits, spotter bags, first aid kit bags and anything else required for the jumpers.

PG bags are also made for forest service districts all over the country. They are designed and built completely in-house. Constant improvements can be made this way and are often utilized quickly. In fact everything the jumper requires can be manufactured by the jumpers.....except for the boots.

Agency manufacturing information.