Smokejumper Master Action Database

smokejumper in flight

Interagency smokejumpers deliver initial attack resources by parachute to fires in the western United States and Alaska. More than 400 firefighters on seven U.S. Forest Service and two Bureau of Land Management bases operate in a decentralized fashion — virtually any airport near current fire activity may serve as their temporary base of operation. Traditionally, each smokejumper base in the Forest Service or BLM tracked the activities of smokejumpers separately. Individual smokejumpers are often shared and traded between bases, depending on fire needs. This mixing of resources poses challenges for tracking and accounting of those resources.

In 2003, the FireCenter helped develop a web-enabled, centralized database to track smokejumper activity. Two smokejumpers, who were also employees at the FireCenter, understood the need for a resource tracking application and worked with other smokejumpers to create a new version of the Smokejumper Master Action Database. The database application tracks fire assignments, fire and practice jumps, days off, incident intelligence, training assignments, parachute records and personnel records, and generates reports and statistics such as shifts worked, acres assisted and number of dispatches for end-of-year and geographic summaries.

The Master Action Database:

  • Allows each base to generate reports for personnel such as Jumper Qualifications, Last Day Off, and Date of Last Jump
  • Produces efficient and accurate summary statistics for year-end reports
  • Eliminates entry of redundant information
  • Stores records from each year, creating a historical archive of national smokejumper data

Project application

The Master Action database demonstrates a successful model for technology transfer. In the development phase, the end users helped plan the technology and designed the database to meet their needs. The application was then successfully handed off to those users, who now have complete control over the application, its maintenance and its further development.