This is the newest DVD in the Smokejumpers history series relates the story of a near-tragedy involving 20 smokejumpers.
The U.S. Forest Service sent 20 of its most elite firefighters – smokejumpers – to parachute into the Idaho wilderness to put out a wildfire burning on a mountain ridge Aug. 4, 1961. What looked like a routine fire from the air became a different story on the ground, as the wind fueled the blaze into a blowup.
The smokejumpers, many in their first season on the job, pivoted from battling the fire to fighting for their lives. While they instinctively wanted to run to safety, they remembered the fate of 13 firefighters who tried to outrun a fire in Montana's Mann Gulch 12 years earlier. With that tragedy in mind, the men decided to shelter in place.
Skilled backcountry pilot Rod Snider set out to find them in a Bell helicopter, but as the fire roared on, wind and smoke made flying conditions treacherous and the smokejumpers' fate unclear. Now in his 90s, Snider revisits the unimaginable saga seared into his memory, revealing a story of bravery and brotherhood.