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Publisher's Summary

A rare inside look at the thrilling world of smokejumpers, the airborne firefighters who parachute into the most remote and rugged areas of the United States, confronting the growing threat of nature's blazes.

Forest and wildland fires are growing larger, more numerous, and deadlier every year - record drought conditions, decades of forestry mismanagement, and the increasing encroachment of residential housing into the wilderness have combined to create a powder keg that threatens millions of acres and thousands of lives every year. One select group of men and women are part of America's front-line defense: smokejumpers. The smokejumper program operates through both the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Though they are tremendously skilled, and only highly experienced and able wildland firefighters are accepted into the training program, being a smokejumper remains an art that can be learned only on the job. Forest fires often behave in unpredictable ways: spreading almost instantaneously, shooting downhill behind a stiff tailwind, or even flowing like a liquid.

In this extraordinarily rare memoir by an active-duty jumper, Jason Ramos takes listeners into his exhilarating and dangerous world, explores smokejumping's remarkable history, and explains why their services are more essential than ever before.

©2015 Jason A. Ramos (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

About damn time a book on wildland firefighting was written!!!

As an individual who spent eight years of his life working for the same agency (USFS) as Ramos, out of Southern California though, I can attest to the accuracy of this book. Doesn't get much more real than this. Excellent book.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 08-29-15

tougher than it looks

Mr. Ramos takes us through pieces of his personal journey in firefighting. The book weighs toward relationships more than the art and science of firefighting. Nonetheless, a nicely paced and informative listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

started strong, ended in politics and advertising

narration is excellent! As for the book, it started out strong, with a mix of life story, training and hands on events and a history of smoke jumping and some very damaging fires. Its well written. But at the end it morphed into an add for gear and the authors own company; plus some political opions, that I guess are to be expected from a biography. But I could have done without the ads for gear and the like.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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great story & narratiom

I thought this was a very interesting book, it covers the history of wildland firefighting and the route the author like all others take to become a smokejumper with fascinating stories from throughout the author's career. This had excellent narration that helps keep your attention, pulls you in during dramatic points in the book and just is an all around great narrator.

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So very interesting

I enjoyed this audio book. Ned Vaughn's voice is so well suited to this story that I kept forgetting he was just reading and not telling his own story.
This is such an interesting memoir, full of drama, history, amazing and breathtaking accounts, all perfectly narrated.

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Thank you Smokejumper Ramos!

Inspirational and informative! As a chaplain who has been honored to serve on several wildland conflags in the Pacific Northwest, I wanted to learn more about the firefighters I am privileged to serve on occasion. I learned much more about smokejumpers, and wildland firefighters in general, from this book than any class I have attended. Thank you Jason, for putting out the fires yet not forgetting to pass the torch.

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Excellent beginning then mediocre

After I listened to the first quarter of the book I bought a copy for my son to read. By the time I sent it to him I had finished the book. I thought it was still a good story but it bogs down in the middle with too many descriptions of fires. They all seem to run together. The parts where he talks about the physicality of the job and equipment are interesting. I would recommend it for someone who is interested in the subject.

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Insight into wild life fire fighting.

What did you love best about Smokejumper?

The author includes in depth background of forest ecology, fire fighting strategy, up to date technique /equipment and insight into personal motivation for the individuals who take up this line of work. We are threatened by wild fires every summer, and this book added to my knowledge, even though I thought I knew it all. I didn't. A very good read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brotherhood smoke

Having been a hotshot and a smokejumper for two years I knew a lot of the people Jason talked about in this book including jumping with him out of my car I Meheula national course and spending more than one night with him in Silver city in the small Cantina all jumpers used to visit well done Jason one of the best fireplugs ever written Puning gearhead smokejumper and now famous author

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California residents must read.

Awesome book about the men and women that go to work, every summer and fall, in the worst of conditions. Support Calfire and all of our wildland crews.