It’s been almost half a century since a group of men jumped from planes to fight forest fires in northern Saskatchewan and one author wants to ensure their legacy is preserved.
Hope Pederson has written a new book called The Saskatchewan Smoke Jumpers.
Smoke jumpers were used to fight fires in the province from roughly 1947 to 1967.
Pederson’s husband Olaf was a smoke jumper himself from 1954 to 1956 and she says she wants to make sure their important contributions in fighting and controlling forest fires in the province are not forgotten.
“As time went on, I began to realize that a lot of people didn’t even know the smoke jumpers existed and they were kind of fading from our memories, sort of thing, and I truly wanted to have them recognized,” she says. “They did a lot of dangerous and important work and I felt that they should be remembered for that.”
She says only 125 men ever worked as smoke jumpers in the province but they were a key element to fighting fires during this time period.
“They would jump in on a fire when it was the size of a room and have it out. Then they’d pack out to a lake where the float plane could land and so they didn’t let many fires get away on them.”
Overall, Pederson says the work attracted both an adventurous and independent type of individual.
She says she was able to track down and tell the stories of 72 of the 125 men who worked as smoke jumpers.
Pederson was in La Ronge on Saturday promoting her book.
Copies of the book are $75 apiece and they can be ordered from Hope Pederson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.