BOISE, Idaho — Normally this time of year, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) firefighters are training and preparing their gear for the upcoming fire season. This is not a normal year and while fire teams will still be read for when they are called for duty, right now they are using thier lesser known expertise to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They are trading in chainsaws and shovels for needles and thread. BLM smokejumpers are sewing fabric face masks.
"Smokejumpers are adept at sewing," said Jessica Gardetto, National Interagency Fire Center spokesperson. "They need to be able to create their own equipment, repair their own gear and repair their parachutes."
The smokejumpers are hoping to give masks to people in need. They hope to have 1,000 masks done by the end of this week and over 2,000 by the end of April. They are currently looking for recipients.