Experience an exciting era when Jumpers parachuted into remote areas of our National Forests to extinguish lightning caused fires.
The Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum tells the story of early US Forest Service aerial wildfire suppression. Its story takes place in the remote and rugged forests of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Smokejumpers are highly trained firefighters who parachute from airplanes into remote forest fires to extinguish them while they are still small and controllable. Under favorable wind, temperature and fuel conditions, small fires, can grow to become major conflagrations, which destroy valuable forest resources, require large fire crews and are expensive to suppress. It is the job of smokejumpers to prevent this from happening.
One of the first smokejumper bases was opened by the USFS in 1943 and was located at Cave Junction, Oregon. This base was established as a response to various attempts by the Japanese during WW II to ignite massive forest fires throughout western forests: a strategy intended to disrupt America’s war effort by causing panic in the general population. (More information can be found at these sites. http://tinyurl.com/bmuhh7j http://tinyurl.com/9wmuvjs)
Siskiyou Smokejumper Base continued operation after the war and evolved over the years as one of four primary smokejumper bases located in Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. http://tinyurl.com/cbevoxv While in operation its crews were dispatched to thousands of lightning and human-caused fires throughout the western states, saving millions in resource damage and fire suppression costs. In 1981, after 38 years of firefighting distinction by 39 total crews, the U.S. Forest Service, in an effort to centralize resources, closed its base in Cave Junction.