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.