What is Required of a Smokejumper?
Because the work is often extremely physically demanding, all jumpers must be in excellent condition. It is not uncommon to construct fireline 14 to 16 hours a day on a regular basis. Both strength and endurance are of utmost importance to the job. A medical examination is required of all smokejumpers to ensure ability to work under extreme physical danger and irregular and extended work hours without hazard to self or others. Failure to meet any of the requirements will be grounds for disqualification
Note: Previous parachute training either sport or military is not required nor advantageous for prospective smokejumpers.
- Vision: Distant vision of greater than 20/100 Snellen in one eye and 20/200 in the other eye is not allowed. Corrected vision greater than 20/20 in one eye and 20/30 in the other is permissible with the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Candidates must be able to read typewritten size characters and be able to pass the Eldridge-Green lantern test or equivalent for color vision.
- Hearing: Candidates must be able to hear the normal spoken voice at 20 feet in each ear and the whispered voice at 15 feet without the use of hearig aids.
- Size: Applicants must be a minimum of 5 feet tall and a maximum of 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weigh at least 120 pounds but no more than 200.
- Age: Prospective jumpers must be at least 18 years old.
- Citizenship: Prospective jumpers must be United States citizens.
- Experience: Smokejumper rookies must have at least one season (90 calendar days) of general forestry/agriculture experience and one season of wildland firefighting experience. Smokejumpers are assumed to have basic firefighting skills, and to know the work environment, as very little firefighting is taught in rookie training. Hotshot crew experience is optimal.
- General experience: experience gained in the field of forestry, range management, farming, ranching, fire control work, soil and water conservation. One academic year of post-high school education in an accredited institution that includes at least 12 semester hours in courses such as forestry, conservation, range management, wildlife, agriculture, engineering or a related physical or natural science may be substituted for one season general experience.
- Fire experience: experience as a member of an organized fire suppression crew in forest or range fire suppression work under mountainous terrain. This must have included training in fire suppression methods, techniques and safety.
Smokejumping requires a high degree of motivation, individual responsibility and initiative. Jumpers must be willing to work long, hard hours and be away from home for extended periods of time.