Parachute down into forests to fight fire.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$23,000 – $75,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Smokejumpers do?

It might sound like a great name for a band, but “Smokejumper” is actually a job title that perfectly (and literally) describes what the job entails. As a Smokejumper, you mix your skydiving and brush clearing skills in a job that has you fighting fires in remote areas of forests and national parks.

In this line of work, speed is key. When your modes of transportation are a plane and a parachute, you can make it to remote areas much more quickly than a truck or even a helicopter can. You’re one of the first people at the scene of a blaze, and your job is to contain the fire until other units can join you in putting it out.

Just like any Firefighter, you use a wide variety of tools, like axes, fire extinguishers, and fire-repellent clothing. The difference between you and the regular Firefighter, though, is you don’t carry this stuff. Instead, it’s parachuted down to you after you successfully land.

Along with your gear, food and water are also dropped because you might have to wait for others not only to help you with the fire but also to pick you up. As a Smokejumper, you’re trained and outfitted to survive on your own for 48 hours without any help.

Safety is a big issue with this job. Not only do you jump into areas with lots of trees, smoke, and fire, but you’re also very far from help if something goes wrong. It does have its (relatively) slow moments though. When you’re not risking life and limb, you comb forested areas, remove debris, and hold controlled burns to prevent the next big blaze.

Should I be a Smokejumper?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Smoke Chaser, Smoke Eater, Smoke Jumper

    How to become a Smokejumper

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Smokejumper-related education!
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