The Smoke Jumper position is not for the timid, for it requires highly experienced and trained fire service personnel to perform the duties and responsibilities expected. It has been approximated that there are only about 400 to 500 certified current smoke jumpers in the nation which makes this branch of the fire service, extremely exclusive.
This position requires the workers to be inserted into thick brush to help stop and prevent the wild land fire from spreading. This position has more dangerous aspects than the average dangers seen in a municipal fire department due to the fact that the Firefighters are delivered to the designated location via parachutes. Each Smoke Jumper drops from an airplane like a rock, only to deploy their parachute and glide swiftly down to the predetermined landing area. Each jumper wears their personal protective equipment, also known as PPE.
The firefighters gear includes the same tools used by a Wild Land Firefighter and is dropped out of the airplane separately from the jumpers, using its own parachute to glide down to the ground. This position is very physically demanding and requires the employees to work between 10 to 15 hours per day on a regular cycle. Previous parachuting experience is generally not required, but becoming a Smoke Jumper requires the firefighters to be responsible, confident, passionate and must be highly motivated.