We are a 45 person wildland fire response crew.
We are aerially delivered firefighters trained to operate independently in remote locations,
with a specialization in initial attack fire suppression.
As rappellers we are prepared to work on all types of wildland fires, from fresh single tree lightning starts to large extended attack incidents.
To develop and sustain the most versatile and capable helicopter firefighting module in the agency through expertise, leadership, camaraderie, and innovation. The strength of the team is derived from the capability and initiative of the individual, who is empowered to lead and honored to follow.
The Salmon-Challis National Forest has one of the largest initial attack fire loads in the Intermountain West, with a 30 year average of 105 starts annually. Due to the extremely steep and remote nature of the Salmon-Challis National Forest, aerially delivered firefighters are the primary initial attack resource. Hosting three helicopters and our large number of rappellers, we have an abundance of training opportunities available to us. In addition to working at the Salmon Air Base, we frequently provide boosters to other rappel bases as needed. There are also detail opportunities to hotshot crews, fire use modules, engines, incident management teams, and other units.
A typical work season starts in May and extends to October.
Early season is dedicated to training, ending with the National Rappel Academy,
hosted at Salmon Air Base in early June.
During the season, we usually keep one rappel platform off forest, assigned as a national resource to move to areas with the greatest need.
At home, we serve as an initial attack resource for the 4.5 million acre Salmon-Challis NF, including the notorious fire area known as the Salmon River Breaks, as well as several hundred thousand acres of nearby BLM land and occasionally nearby national forests.
Most crew members can expect 3-6 full length fire assignments, as well as 5-20 shorter initial attack fires, during the season.
Prescribed fires are conducted locally in the spring and fall, conditions permitting.
Our organizational stucture currently consists of:
One Type I helicopter for bucket work that is established under the current surge aircraft program as a nationally available resource.
Two Type II helicopters are our rappel platforms capable of delivering rappellers into otherwise inaccessible locations. They are also used for the full range of helitack missions.
One Type III helicopter is an ideal platform for helitack missions, used frequently for recon and detection flights, sling loads, and landing in sites with limited space.