Nine smokejumpers killed in Russia

Russian smokejumpers
File photo of Russian smokejumpers. Photo: Mark Thiessen/National Geographic

UPDATE at 11:35 a.m. MT, June 7, 2012: A ninth firefighter has unfortunately died. (Reported by Chuck Bushey of the IAWF and by the Russian media company ITAR-TASS from a Rosleskhoz Federal Forestry Agency source.)


Russian authorities announced on June 7 that eight smokejumpers were entrapped and killed in a wildfire in southern Siberia. The eight jumpers were part of a team of 14 that parachuted into the fire. The other six managed to escape from unexpected fire behavior thought to be caused by a wind shift. One was admitted to a hospital with serious burn injuries.

The BBC reported that authorities have opened a criminal negligence investigation into the incident.

Last year we told you about an excellent article in National Geographic about the smokejumping program in Russia. The country has 4,000 jumpers working out of 340 bases across the country.

Our condolences go out to the family and coworkers of these firefighters.
Thanks go out to Dick

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

3 thoughts on “Nine smokejumpers killed in Russia”

  1. So sorry to hear the news of the jumpers killed in Russia. We both were Alaska Smokejumpers for years and had the pleasure of meeting some of the Russians during exchange programs. They were always full of good cheer, great to know and work with. Our condolences to their loved ones. There’s not much to say that can take away the pain of such loss at a time like this. But, in the past when we’ve lost people in similar situations, we have been sure to note that these people were doing what they loved when they perished. To be able to do something you love in your work is no small thing. I know it was that way for them, just like it is for all smokejumpers, and many other wildland firefighters as well. May their spirits be remembered and cherished.

    Murry and Don, Former Alaska Smokejumpers

  2. ^^^^
    NOW ….wouldn’t that data reside in FAM Boise or do we need a RAND study to determine that??

  3. God bless those jumpers and their families. Very sad.

    Anyone know how many jumpers the U.S. has on average annually? And what percent are perms vs. seasonals?


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