SMOKEJUMPERS: PAGE 99
SCAMMON BAY FIRES 2002
The Alaska Smokejumpers visited the Yup'ik Village of Scammon Bay twice in 2002, catching fires escaping from the local dump. High winds immediately hindered our crew - we tackled our paracargo boxes tumbling across the tundra toward the flames. Temperatures quickly dropped this September day. We swatted our way around the 30-acre fire, then pitched camp in the open. In the morning we walked to the village. Once spotted we were met by scores of kids, traversing the village's gravel roads on foot and wobbly bikes. Most village hunters were away searching for walrus, seal and whale for the dinner table. Crawling through our gear, the youngsters targeted the bladder bags and hand-held radios. A water fight resulted with full village communications in place. Their grandparents - the village elders, appeared unconcerned as we were easily overrun. Within minutes of our jumpship arriving on the narrow airstrip, we posted guards at the propellers, loaded up and headed home.

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