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USA-FIREFIGHTERS/SMOKEJUMPING
RTSMZ98
August 12, 2016
On a 100-degree day in early June, eight experienced firefighters did sit-ups in a semicircle training...
Winthrop, UNITED STATES
The Wider Image: Firefighters make leap to smokejumping
On a 100-degree day in early June, eight experienced firefighters did sit-ups in a semicircle training to parachute into a wildfire. Better known as "rookie candidates," they were determined to make it through the five-week program at North Cascades Smokejumper Base in Winthrop, Washington, where the first experimental jumps occurred in 1939. "It's sort of the spiritual home of smokejumping," said David Ryder, who photographed the latest group of rookies. "These guys are the elite of the elite." Ryder said covering the record-setting wildfires in his home state of Washington over the past two years made him want to learn more about the people behind the acts of courage he had captured with his camera. These rookie candidates were required to have basic firefighting skills; two seasons of forestry experience, one being a main fire position; be 5 feet to 6 feet 5 inches (1.5 to (1.9 m) tall; and weigh between 120 and 200 pounds (54 to 91 kg), according to the base. REUTERS/David Ryder SEARCH "SMOKEJUMPING" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY Matching text: USA-FIREFIGHTERS/SMOKEJUMPING
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