Fire Stories

Fire stories from the national parks highlight events, incidents, and the like, associated with fire and fuels management, as well as fire education, technology, partnerships, and more. Stories highlight work related to Department of the Interior initiatives as well as local and regional initiatives.

Smokejumper lands in front of Santa Elena Canyon at Big Bend National Park, May 30, 2010. NPS Photo.

First Smokejumpers to Jump in the State of Texas

Big Bend National Park, Texas
National Fire Plan, Firefighting*

The first smokejumpers to jump in the history of the state of Texas were dispatched from Silver City, New Mexico, on May 30, 2010, to a fire at Big Bend National Park. Five smokejumpers landed safely at approximately 9:15 AM on May 30th in the vicinity of the Sublett Fire.

The Sublett Fire was started on the afternoon of May 21 by lightning 1.5 miles west of Castolon and south of the road to Santa Elena Canyon. The fire was burning within the historic Sublett Farming District, removing vegetation, such as invasive and exotic species of salt cedar and giant river cane, from the former Sublett farmland. The team of Gila Smokejumpers assisted in the management of this fire.

The five smoke jumpers jumped from a vintage DC-3 that was built in 1946 and maintained by the US Forest Service. The Gila Smokejumpers have worked from Silver City, New Mexico, since 1954 as part of a seasonal crew made up of jumpers from bases throughout the western United States.

Smokejumpers have worked in most states and have made operational fire jumps in all western states and in many southern states. This jump has the distinction of being the most southern fire jump ever made in the U.S. and the first in the state of Texas. The park has limited wildland fire personnel, equipment, and resources. The smokejumpers have brought fire leadership capacity and skills to the fire. In addition, they brought supplies from the regional fire warehouse that is located with their jump base in Silver City, New Mexico.

Contact: David Elkowitz, Public Information Officer
Phone: (432) 477-1107

*This story supports Department of the Interior initiatives.