Ashley Taylor has a business degree. The initial plan wasn’t for her to jump out of planes for a living (with more than 100 pounds worth of tools and a parachute strapped to her), to fight wildfires in remote locations. But Taylor is a smokejumper, a job with a lot of history that is rarely discussed and of great value to the preservation of wildlands across America.
In episode two of the Warriors of the West docuseries, we see the world of smokejumping through the eyes of Taylor and retired smokejumper Mike Wheelock. Through the use of body-cam footage, we witness the danger and mystery that follows every alarm signaling another deep forest fire that needs to be battled somewhere for an unforeseeable amount of time.
Smokejumpers prepare extensively for the sound of that alarm and what is soon to follow. They spend their time in between training and packing their parachutes. But while their focus is on the next mission and overall safety, it’s clear that the memories of those who didn’t make it out alive, such as Luke Sheehy (who we learned about in the previous episode) are not far from their minds. Thanks to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF), the larger community is able to remember those who lost their lives and families are given the help they need.
To learn more about the WFF, the history of smokejumpers, and the intensity of Taylor’s job, check out episode two of the Warriors Of The West series. And check out the series page for additional episodes.<
em>Coors Banquet is in its sixth year of supporting the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, donating over $1.5 million dollars to the foundation. Click the donate button on this page if you’d like to help protect our west by supporting the WFF.