Missoula Smokejumper Center
If you are ever in Missoula during the summer months, a visit to the Missoula Smokejumper base at the Missoula airport is worth the time. The smokejumpers themselves will give you a tour of their work and staging areas. You can see them doing what they do best: operate sewing machines!! These men and women are not only the elite when it comes to fighting forest fires but they make their own packs and mend their own parachutes. Necessity is the mother of invention and smokejumpers have been credited with creating state-of-the-art fire fighting equipment.
If you are lucky, they may be getting dispatched to a fire while you are taking the tour. As what happened with us, we were in the locker room area when the alarm sounded. We just stood back and got out of the way while they suited up.
We followed them out on the tarmac and watched them board the aircraft.