Virtual Field Trip: Missoula Smokejumper Base

Virtual Field Trip: Missoula Smokejumper Base

Just outside Missoula, Montana the legendary smokejumpers train to parachute into fires burning in some of the nation’s most remote areas, from Alaska to New Mexico. Visitors are welcome to tour the facility from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

The U.S. Forest Service operates the Missoula Smokejumper Base, home to a unit of about 80 smokejumpers. All smokejumpers from the other Idaho and Montana region come here to train as well. 

Visitors on guided tours get to see the 100 pounds of gear each smokejumper requires, the room where smokejumpers practice packing their parachutes and make repairs, the place where they change into their firefighting clothing, and the airstrip. The visitor’s center has a small gift shop and several interactive displays.

virtual field trip

The Missoula Smokejumper Base outside Missoula, Montana gives tourists an inside look at how firefighters in remote areas live and work.

virtual school field trip

The U.S. Forest Service’s Missoula Smokejumper Base is located adjacent to the Missoula International Airport, and is open to visitors from Memorial Day to Labor Day, seven days a week.

virtual school field trip

One highlight of the Smokejumper Base tour is the huge parachute packing room where firefighters practice packing gear. Sewing machines line the wall where staff can repair parachutes damaged in jumps.

virtual school field trip

A room full of hooks on the walls helps firefighters check their parachute gear.

Animal mounts look out over the parachute packing room.

Visitors to the base can explore several interactive exhibits about fire science and history.

A packed parachute sits ready as men at the far end pack others.

Cubbies hold firefighting gear.

The “Ready Room” off the parachute packing area, houses the clothing smokejumpers will need before boarding their plane.

Sewing machines stand ready for those needing to make repairs.

Decor in the Ready Room.

A reminder hanging on the wall.

Equipment on display.

Firefighter gear.

A cart named Grumpy.

A parachute pack.

A parachutist painted on the outside wall greets visitors.

Parachutes hanging on hooks.

The Ready Room.

These Smokey the Bears are on sale at the Smokejumper Base gift shop.

Entry into the Visitor Center.

A reminder posted on the wall.

A marker recognizing the U.S. Forest Service’s lengthy history.

An exhibit shows the smokejumper gear and clothing.

An exhibit on how fire science has evolved.

A man performs maintenance on a plane between calls.

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