National Geographic : 1968 Jul
from arid country; confident in their own teamwork and hereditary knowledge of forest ways, they do not panic in tight spots. Subject to call anywhere in the West, the Indians must be prepared to fly fast and light. Urgent evening calls to New Mexico and Arizona have landed Indians in Wyoming and Montana before daylight. A call to Al buquerque at 5 p.m. can bring crews to a fire in California by midnight. During the 1967 fire crisis, the airports and small airstrips scattered throughout the Northwest were busy around the clock. Air power has become a mighty weapon in the war against forest fires. 122 Besides dropping retardant, planes fly parachuting smokejumpers to fires that can not be reached in any other way, transport fire-fighting crews, map fires with special infrared and electronic equipment, and haul all manner of tools and supplies. Smokejumpers' Rule: "Hit Hard and Fast" Helicopters can reach otherwise inaccessi ble places. Several times we saw them hover over steep slopes and lower tools on lines to crews, and, once, hoist an injured man for a quick trip to a hospital. Helicopters also drop retardant, and some are equipped to lower huge buckets to lakes or streams, haul up as much as 900 gallons of water, and swiftly fly it to hot spots (page 110).