Tonight on AC360: Smoke jumpers parachute into Colorado fires
Photo credit: Ish Estrada
July 2nd, 2012
05:39 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Smoke jumpers parachute into Colorado fires

It's another hot day in Grand Junction, Colorado, which means another busy day for smoke jumpers who are stationed here to help put out fires in the wilderness. These men and women are not your typical fire fighting team. They parachute into hot spots to cut off the fuel that fires need to burn. There are just over 400 smoke jumpers in the United States trained to combat wildfires that way.

They typically jump from 3,000 feet in the air, landing in remote areas to cut down trees with chain saws, dig trenches and fight fire with fire, setting controlled burns to help stop flames from spreading. Special tools, parachutes, suits and helmets help them strategically battle the blaze.

They work in difficult and dangerous terrain. After the mission is done, they have to hike their way out with about 150-pound packs strapped to their backs.

CNN’s Gary Tuchman was invited to smoke jumpers’ training in Colorado. Learn more about their amazing work in his report at 8 and 10 p.m. ET. Plus, get the latest on the efforts to control the Waldo Canyon fire and see how crews and residents are recovering from the devastating damage.

Follow Ish Estrada on Twitter.

Update: Watch Gary Tuchman's report:

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Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Wildfires
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