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Download Smokejumper: A Memoir by One of America's Most Select Airborne Firefighters Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Smokejumper: A Memoir by One of Americas Most Select Airborne Firefighters Audiobook, by Jason A. Ramos Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jason A. Ramos, Julian Smith Narrator: Ned Vaughn Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2015 ISBN: 9780062395610
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An insider takes listeners into the thrilling and dangerous world of smokejumpers, the elite wilderness firefighters who parachute into the most remote and rugged areas of the United States, risking their lives to fight nature’s deadliest blazes.

An elite crew of firefighters employed by the Department of the Interior, smokejumpers are specially trained to fight monstrous fires in the deepest wilderness at a moment’s notice—in inaccessible terrain where conventional firefighting is impossible. Highly trained, they parachute from helicopters into the heart of the combustion, often alone or with the aid of just a single partner. But it’s not just a skill; being a smokejumper is an art. Forest fires often behave in unpredictable ways: spreading almost instantaneously, shooting downhill behind a stiff tailwind, or even flowing like a liquid. To stay alive, smokejumpers must combine knowledge of the terrain, meteorological and ground conditions, and their own judgment and instincts to survive.

In this exciting, eye-opening memoir, Jason A. Ramos reveals what it takes to do this remarkable job, recounting his career from his humble beginnings as a seventeen-year-old city kid working for the Riverside County Fire Department to becoming one of the top smokejumpers in the world, a position he’s held for twenty-five years. Ramos weaves a compelling history of wilderness firefighting, takes us through the brutal training it requires, and explains the psychological strength needed to go to work each day knowing it could be your last. Here are some of his most harrowing missions—when the ground is so hot that truck axles melt and a split-second decision can mean the difference between living and dying. Smokejumper takes us deep into burning forests—and into the heart of a dedicated fire fighter as never before.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Fast paced…Ramos is an expert guide through a fearful world…His passion is unmistakable.”

    USA Today

  • “A fascinating look at the men and women who devote their lives to this service.”


  • “You think your job’s hard? Jason Ramos and his colleagues parachute into the wilderness in order to save nature from going up in flames. He takes readers into the world of smokejumping, which has become more important as drought in America becomes more widespread.”

    Men’s Journal (a 7 Best Books of the Month selection)

  • “[A] touching and fast-paced memoir…written with precision and perspective, sometimes with a touch of poetry…A fun and valuable read.”

    Washington Post

  • “Compelling…A fast-paced, eye-opening read.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “Ned Vaughn credibly narrates Ramos’ first-person account… Vaughn’s matter-of-fact tone maintains listener interest while allowing for the solemnity of death and injury to hit home. A passage in which Ramos ponders the feelings that a group of firefighters must have had before their deaths is especially moving. Listeners who know someone in a line of dangerous work may particularly appreciate hearing Ramos’ take on his job.”


  • “Interwoven with his exciting adventures on fires throughout the west, Jason educates the reader about the art of firefighting, the smokejumper culture, and the human tragedies associated with his twenty-six-year firefighting career.”

    Bill Moody, NCSB jumper and base manager (retired) 1957–1989

  • “Jason Ramos tells of nature at its most savage, of two-thousand-degree heat and hurricane-force drafts, of heroic, sometimes lethal efforts to save the lives of people less prepared. Here you’ll meet the people who fly between Heaven and Hell. And jump.”

    Wayne van Zwoll, PhD, former special projects editor, Intermedia Outdoors

  • “Jason Ramos’ Smokejumper is a rousing personal adventure story, a nutshell history of the great wildland fires, and insider’s brief for making smokejumpers more relevant on today’s fire line.”

    John N. Maclean, author of Fire on the Mountain

  • “Nothing can ever measure up to the sound of engines roaring as you step out into the cold air, into harm’s way—to the smell of smoke and the endless beauty of the western mountains of America. Jason Ramos brings all that alive in this book.”

    Bill Furman, CEO, Greenbrier Companies, Inc., Smokejumper NCSB 1962–1967

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About the Author

Jason A. Ramos has devoted twenty-six years of his life to the fire service. He began his career at age seventeen as a volunteer with the Riverside County Fire Department, then progressed to wildland firefighting in Southern California. Now a smokejumper in his sixteenth season, he is based in Winthrop, Washington, at the North Cascades Smokejumper Base, the birthplace of smokejumping.